The NC State volleyball team met tough challengers at the 2019 VCU Invitational this weekend at the Siegel Center in Richmond, VA. After losing to VCU Thursday night 3-0, NC State was dealt its second loss by UC Santa Barbara 3-1 on Friday.
The Wolfpack (2-2) had a rough start in the first set, letting the Gauchos (3-1) take control and setting the pace for the game with an easy 25-17 win. The Pack pulled itself together during the second and fourth sets to match the Gauchos head on but came up a little short in both sets. The Pack lost the second set 25-23 and the fourth set 25-22. The third set saw the Pack come out on the winning end of a close set, picking up a 25-23 set win.
Redshirt sophomore libero Kaylee Fraizer led the Pack defensively with 21 digs and was at the top of the leaderboard as well. Sharpton followed with 12 digs and 15 assists along with freshman setter Kristen McDaniel who had 10 digs and 20 assists.
After a lopsided first set, the Wolfpack had a much better shot at taking the second set as it held on to stay right behind the Gauchos. A solo block from junior opposite hitter Melissa Evans helped the team stay one point behind, 9-8.
The Pack was led at the net defensively by sophomore middle blocker Pam Chukwujekwu. Chukwujekwu had four blocks, two being solo blocks. She was followed by Evans, who racked up three of the Pack’s nine blocks throughout the game.
The Pack went on a four-point run to turn the second set in its favor, 18-17. Unfortunately for the Pack, the Gauchos immediately responded with a five-point run of their own to take a 22-18 lead.
With a last-ditch effort, Chukwujekwu and redshirt junior middle blocker Jessica Kemp scored two points for the Pack right behind match-point for the Gauchos. The Gauchos pushed through and the Pack was left at a 2-0 disadvantage.
For most of the set, the Pack was able to hold the lead but the Gauchos used their timeouts to their advantage and was able to disrupt the Pack’s momentum both times. The second time led to the Gauchos being able to tie the score late in the match, 23-23. A kill from Evans and an attack error from the Gaucho’s, led to the Pack’s only set victory.
Evans led the team with 14 kills, part of her 17 points. Evans was second on the leaderboard for point leaders. The Gauchos’ senior outside hitter Lindsey Ruddins picked up a match-high 19 points. Following Evans’ lead, Kemp had 11 kills of her 12.5 points.
A service ace from Evans tied the Pack in the fourth set with the Gauchos, 7-7. The Pack then soon fell again to the Gauchos until the very end when a block assist by Kemp and senior middle blocker Lauryn Terry gave the Pack the lead, 22-21.
With a timeout from UC Santa Barbara, the Gauchos quickly halted the Pack and finished the fourth set in their favor.
The Wolfpack has one last game at the 2019 VCU Invitational, against Alabama this Saturday at 2 p.m.