Irvin Dig

Senior defensive specialist and libero Grace Irvin digs the ball against Virginia Tech on October 4 in Reynolds Coliseum. Irvin played in five sets with 14 assists, 31 digs, and one ace in the 3-2 win over Virginia Tech.

The NC State volleyball team lost to Syracuse 3-0 for the first time at home in the matchup’s history at Reynolds Coliseum Sunday afternoon. This will mark the Pack’s third straight loss since it’s win against Virginia.

The Wolfpack (8-13, 3-6 ACC) began each set in the lead with control but each time the Orange (5-11, 2-7 ACC) managed to pull ahead to take each set. The Orange made a comeback to take the first set 25-21. The Orange took the second and third sets by a slight two-point margin, 25-23 and 26-24, respectively.

“We don’t make any excuses,” head coach Linda Hampton-Keith said. “Every time we take the court, we expect to win and compete hard. I thought we did that on Friday. I didn’t think we did that [today]. We had moments where it was, but it wasn’t enough to sustain. That’s the frustrating part, being able to sustain our competitive intensity over the course of the match.”

At the start of the first set, the Wolfpack led the Orange 8-4. Without junior opposite hitter Melissa Evans, an offensive powerhouse, the Pack did not have the same overwhelming offense it normally has. It was not before long that the Orange’s own ace, outside hitter Polina Shemanova, carried her team back into the running.

Shemanova was the most valuable player on her team with an impressive 22 kills and 10 digs. Following Shemanova’s 23.5 total points, teammate outside hitter Yuliia Yastrub contributed nine total points, the second-most points on the team.

“We prepared for her like we prepare for everyone,” Hampton-Keith said. “We understood going in that they were going to rely heavily on her, and they did, and it looked like it worked in their favor.”

After struggling for the lead, the Orange gained an actual lead for the first time in the set, 19-16.

Senior defensive specialist Grace Irvin was put at libero for the first set, a position usually dedicated to redshirt sophomore Kaylee Frazier. After the first set, Frazier was back to libero.

“I go in with the same mindset, leadership-wise, every time I step on the court,” Irvin said. “Obviously, you’re passing with everyone, and everyone receives, and you have to lock in on every point. I’m just there to have Kaylee’s back and my teammates’ back.” 

Blocking was not a main factor throughout the entire game as the Pack ended with three blocks compared to the Orange’s six. Neither team had any blocks during the entire first set of the game.

Similar to the first set, the Wolfpack took an early lead against the Orange after a kill from sophomore outside hitter Jade Parchment puts the Pack up 6-3. The Orange didn’t relent though and with two attack errors from the Pack, the Orange was able to take the lead 13-12.

The Pack was close to a comeback after a service error from the Orange closed the score 24-23 but the Orange quickly put away the set.

“I think this is more about us and our ability to stay more lower error and be a little more balanced in our attack and relying on more our hitters to help us in a jam,” Hampton-Keith said.

In the third set, freshman right side hitter Lydia Adam scored her sixth kill for a season high along with career records of four digs and two assists.

The Pack leading the Orange 11-8 came to an end after a timeout from Syracuse to halt the Pack’s momentum. NC State was able to tie up the score 22 points apiece with the efforts of Parchment, redshirt freshman setter Nina Sharpton and senior middle blocker Lauryn Terry.

Parchment led the Wolfpack with 15 kills and nine digs, followed by Terry and redshirt junior Jessica Kemp who each had 10 kills each.

The Wolfpack reached match point first after Parchment calmly and cleanly received Polina’s powerful jump serve to set up sophomore middle blocker Pam Chukwujekwu for the point. Just when the set looked to be in the Pack’s favor, a dump from the Orange tied the score at 24.

The Wolfpack will return to action against Clemson at Reynolds Coliseum on Friday, Nov. 1 at 7 p.m.