NC State graduate student Melissa Evans (3) points out a good pass from a teammate after notching a kill during the Wolfpack's exhibition game against the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers in Reynolds Coliseum on Saturday, August 21, 2021. Coastal Carolina defeated the Wolfpack 3-1 in the exhibition match, their first match of the season.

The NC State volleyball team pulled its winning percentage up to .500 on Friday, Sept. 10, taking down the Brown Bears 3-0 and the Rutgers Scarlet Knights 3-2 in Piscataway, New Jersey. The latter match saw plenty of back-and-forth, offensive volleyball as the Pack emerged victorious over the Scarlet Knights in five sets, 25-22, 27-25, 19-25, 23-25, 15-9.

NC State (4-4) took care of business against Brown (3-2) in the front half of the doubleheader, securing the win in straight sets 25-21, 25-18, 25-21. The Bears put up a fight, keeping two of the three sets within five points, but a potent attack propelled the Pack to victory.

Graduate opposite hitter Melissa Evans took a back seat to senior outside hitter Jade Parchment and redshirt junior outside hitter Taylor Rowland as that pair combined to produce 26 of the Wolfpack’s 47 total kills in the match while Evans put up eight of her own.

Parchment brought her defensive chops to New Jersey as well, posting 11 digs against the Bears. Of course, graduate libero Kaylee Frazier led the charge in that regard with 17, but Parchment’s efforts on defense proved valuable later in the day. 

State’s defense had been stout through the first one and a half matches of the weekend, but it suffered a heavy blow when its leader in digs per set, junior setter Kristen McDaniel, exited the Rutgers match early in the third set with an apparent ankle injury.

The first two sets of the second match were decided by three and two points, respectively, as the Wolfpack eked out a 2-0 set lead over the Scarlet Knights (6-2). Adding to the contrast between the two matches of the day, Evans brought her A game against Rutgers, accumulating a career-high 25 kills over the course of the match. However, the tone of the match totally changed with McDaniel’s exit, and Rutgers quickly cut NC State’s 2-0 set lead in half by taking the third set, 25-19

Freshman setter Maggie Jones was thrust onto the court in lieu of McDaniel and initially struggled to find her rhythm, but she eventually hit her stride and ended the match with 31 assists. The fourth set saw the Wolfpack attack begin to gel as a whole once again, but Rutgers was able to force a fifth and final set by evening the match at two sets apiece.

NC State retook control of the match in the fifth set by jumping to a quick 9-3 lead fueled by three consecutive attack errors from Rutgers to make it 5-1. Despite a last-gasp effort by the Scarlet Knights to pull within four at 12-8, the Pack closed out the set at 15-9 to win the match 3-2.

The Wolfpack will wrap up its time in New Jersey with a match against the NJIT Highlanders on Sept. 11. The match will be streamed on Big Ten Network+ at 2 p.m.