The NC State volleyball team finished the 2018 season with an overall record of 15-13 and a 9-9 record in ACC play. The Wolfpack will once again have to battle its way through a top-heavy ACC, but received a lucky draw in the ACC-SEC Challenge and has a more-than-manageable nonconference slate.
NC State kicks off its season with a home doubleheader on Aug. 30 against Austin Peay and Kansas State. Austin Peay is a small-conference powerhouse, going 27-5 last year, and should be a tough matchup for the Pack. Kansas State will likely be much less of an issue for NC State, as the Wildcats went just 5-11 in the Big 12 last year.
The Wolfpack plays its most matches in a month in September, with 12 matches in 25 days from Sept. 5-29. First up is the VCU Invitational from September 5-7, where the Pack will play VCU, UC Santa Barbara and Alabama. The host Rams were an impressive 19-9 last year, including a 13-1 record in conference play. UCSB and Alabama won’t be nearly as good as the Rams; the Gauchos went 17-12 last season and the Crimson Tide sputtered to a 7-11 record in SEC play.
Just three days later, the Wolfpack will return home for a matchup with conference rival ECU, who went just 13-16 last season. After its match against the Pirates, the Pack will travel to Boone, NC, for the 2019 Appalachian Invitational. On Sept. 13, the Wolfpack will take on Western Carolina, who struggled to the tune of a 12-16 record in 2018. A doubleheader the next day brings Iowa State, which closed out the 2018 season on a nine-game winning streak, and Appalachian State, which went an impressive 22-9 last year.
The ACC-SEC Challenge in Georgia kicks off the next week, and NC State gets two SEC cellar dwellers in Georgia (Sept. 19) and Arkansas (Sept. 20). The Bulldogs went just 6-12 in the SEC last year, and the Razorbacks were even worse, finishing 5-13. Two days later, on Sept. 22, the Wolfpack takes on Furman, which went 13-16 last season, on the road.
A trip to Louisville on Sept. 27 kicks off ACC play for the Wolfpack against a Cardinals team that went 14-4 in conference and 22-9 overall last season en route to an NCAA Tournament berth. Two days later is a road match at Notre Dame, which finished near the middle of the pack in the ACC with a 10-8 conference record in 2018.
The Wolfpack’s first home ACC match of the season on Oct. 2 is against archrival UNC-Chapel Hill, which finished with an ACC-worst 4-14 conference record last season and is the beginning of a four-match homestand. Two days later, the Pack takes on Virginia Tech, which finished 5-13 in the ACC. Florida State is up next on Oct. 11, and the Seminoles finished last season with a 15-3 record in the ACC and made the NCAA Tournament. The last match of the homestand is on Oct. 13 against Miami, and the Hurricanes tied with NC State for seventh place in the ACC last year with a 9-9 record.
NC State then heads to Charlottesville, Virginia, for an Oct. 18 matchup against the Cavaliers, who had the worst overall record of any ACC team at 8-20. Two days later on the road is defending ACC champion Pittsburgh, which went 17-1 in the conference. On Oct. 25, the Wolfpack returns home for another four-match homestand. First up is Boston College, 5-13 in ACC play with an even .500, 15-15 overall record. After the Eagles is Syracuse on Oct. 27. The Orange tied with Louisville for third place in the ACC last year and made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
On Nov. 1, the Pack will see Clemson, which finished just one game behind the Wolfpack in 2018 with an 8-10 record in the ACC. Georgia Tech is on the docket two days later, and the Yellow Jackets went 18-15 last season but finished only 6-12 in the conference. On Nov. 8, 0the Wolfpack will head to Winston-Salem, where it will take on a Wake Forest team that finished 13th in the ACC and had a 10-20 overall record. NC State will then make the short drive over to Duke on Nov. 10 to face the Blue Devils, who won nine of their last 13 games to end the season and secure an NCAA Tournament berth. NC State then closes out the season with four games against teams it already played, facing Miami on the road on Nov. 15, traveling to Georgia Tech on Nov. 17, returning home against Pitt on Nov. 24 and rounding out the regular season on Nov. 30 against Boston College.