The Wolfpack came up empty in its road opener, suffering a 3-0 sweep at the hands of the VCU Rams in the first match of the VCU Invitational.
NC State saw some strong play from individual players; freshman Daniela McDonald led the Pack with nine kills, redshirt junior Jessica Kemp had seven kills, junior Melissa Evans also had seven kills and three blocks, and redshirt sophomore Kaylee Frazier led the Pack defense with 15 digs.
However, a combination of the Rams defense, which picked up 15.5 blocks throughout the match, and Wolfpack errors (24) prevented NC State from closing out any of its sets.
The Pack (2-1) just couldn’t keep up with the Rams (3-2) offense in the opening set falling 25-12. Evans got the opening kill but the Wolfpack quickly fell behind. VCU had multiple series of three or more unanswered points with the biggest coming at the end as the Rams closed out the first set on a six-point run.
NC State got its offense pumping at the start of the second set. The Pack alternated leads with VCU several times with each squad going nearly point for point. However, after the Pack took a 15-14 lead, the Rams responded with a four-point run followed by three more straight points and finally finishing with another four-point unanswered run to close out the second set 25-17.
After two disappointing sets for the Wolfpack, the team saw a much better performance in the third set. The Pack took an early 4-1 lead over VCU, but it quickly found itself in a hole again, going down 9-6. NC State clawed back into the set and went point-for-point again with the Rams. Despite the effort, the Wolfpack just didn’t have it that night and up 23-21, the Pack found itself once again unable to stop VCU’s tide and allowed four-straight unanswered points to close the set 25-23 and the match 3-0.
The Wolfpack will need to put the loss behind it and focus on playing more of the way they played in the third set while also cleaning up its errors if it hopes to come out of the weekend invitational with at least two wins.
NC State has a quick turnaround as it plays its next game less than 24 hours later on Friday, Sept. 6 against UC Santa Barbara at 2:30 p.m. for the second match of the VCU Invitational.