NC State volleyball ended its day with a win of 3-1 against Kansas State at Reynolds Coliseum after beating Austin Peay earlier on Friday.
The Wolfpack (2-0) was slow coming into the game, costing it the first set to the Wildcats (1-1), 25-23. The Pack then woke up in the second set, winning by an 11-point margin, similar to its performance against Austin Peay earlier today.
The third set was rough but overall remained in the Pack’s favor as the team closed with a service ace for a 25-20 win in the third set. The fourth set had the Pack pulling away at the very end for its second victory this season, 25-19.
“We’ve really capitalized. While we’re a young team, we also have some veterans that can do some different things now,” head coach Linda Hampton-Keith said. “I do think that’s one of the things that’s really unique and versatile about this team is that we can handle when things get a little crazy.”
Unlike the Pack’s match earlier in the day where the team dominated Austin Peay, the Pack was in a constant state of playing catch-up to the Wildcats for the beginning of the set.
The Pack fell behind 11-6 against the Wildcats’ offense in the first and it was inevitable for the Pack to call a timeout so early in the set to try and do some damage control.
The Wolfpack returned to the floor for a quick kill from sophomore outside hitter Jade Parchment followed by teammate senior middle blocker Lauryn Terry to try and close the gap 11-8.
The Pack steadily worked its way back when a kill from freshman outside hitter Daniela McDonald tied the score 14-14.
McDonald wasn’t done yet as she then successfully attacked the Wildcats twice to pull the Pack into the lead 16-14. The first time the Pack had a lead larger than a margin of one point.
The Pack’s momentum was broken after the Wildcats called for a timeout and it was a nightmare that the Pack faced during its third set against Austin Peay. Battling point-for-point the Pack tried to keep its lead only to fall to the Wildcats.
Entering the second set down 1-0, the Pack may have given up the first point but took the lead 4-1.
The Wolfpack picked up its game and the team from earlier today shone through. As a block from Terry and redshirt junior middle blocker Jessica Kemp was followed by an attack from Terry, the Pack earned back enough points to lead 14-9 and an attack from junior opposite hitter Melissa Evans led to an eight-point lead for the Wolfpack, 20-12.
Parchment was a key role in the third set for the Pack. Not only did she get the first point for the Pack, but she also came in clutch to keep the Pack from falling behind the Wildcats around the halfway mark of the set, 7-7.
Later in the set, Parchment’s serving brought two consecutive service aces to not only force the Wildcats to call a timeout to try, but it gave the Pack the lead it needed, 13-10.
Within the third set, the Pack had 12 kills. Parchment and Evans led with four kills apiece followed by Kemp and McDonald who each had two.
Senior defense specialist Grace Irvin served up an ace after one of McDonald’s kills but the Wildcats called a timeout, effectively snuffing out the momentum the Pack was gaining to make a run. The Pack managed to hold its lead including a lucky service ace from freshman setter Nina Sharpton that barely tipped over the net, taking the Wildcats by surprise, 21-17.
The Wolfpack’s hard work paid off as the team stayed calm while the Wildcats let their desperation to take back the lead get the best of them as the final points of the set were practically handed to the Pack. A service error from the Wildcats brought the Pack to match point and Kemp brought the Pack home with a service ace.
“I think the first game really helped us play, compete in the second game,” Evans said. “Austin Peay was a really good team, they challenged us for our very first game of the season. Kansas State was really similar to us, they were physical, big girls and we just wanted to show up for our team.”
The fourth set never saw one team taking a large lead over the other until the end. The Wildcats had gained a slight two-point lead, 15-13, but the lead wouldn’t last long as the Pack’s offensive kicked into high gear to recover. Sophomore middle blocker Pam Chukwujekwu tied the score 16-16, a turning point the Pack had been waiting for.
Sharpton served up the team’s fifth service ace in the fourth set out of the team’s 11 aces in the night. The ace allowed the Pack to lead 23-18 with victory in sight.
“We’ve been working on serving a lot in practice,” McDonald said. “It’s been one of our main focuses.”
Kemp scored the last two kills for the Pack’s victory against the Wildcats, 25-19.
The Wolfpack will return to action for the 2019 VCU Invitational starting the three-day event Thursday at 6 p.m. against VCU at the Siegel Center.