vball vs virginia

The NC State volleyball team celebrates scoring a point versus Virginia at Reynolds Coliseum on Wednesday, Nov. 23 2022. NC State beat Virginia 3-1.

NC State volleyball came away with a win in its final game at Reynolds Coliseum, defeating the Virginia Cavaliers in four sets on Wednesday, Nov. 23.

The Wolfpack (15-13, 9-8 ACC) closed out its 2022 home season strong against the Cavaliers (12-16, 4-13 ACC), winning its second game in a row to put its conference win percentage over .500.

“It’s always good to win, especially for all of your people,” said head coach Luka Slabe. “I know it’s the holidays, and they still showed and we thank them with a win.”

The first set was won handily by the Pack by a final score of 25-14. Sophomore opposite hitter Amanda Rice stood out as an immediate impact player and was involved at all points of the match. She recorded an early kill for the Pack and was active on defense with four total blocks.

Senior setter Kristen McDaniel also stood out, playing a key role in all four sets. She was one of several NC State players to consistently lay her body out to make saves and keep the ball alive. McDaniel recorded 15 assists, second only to junior setter Naomi Cabello for the team lead.

With tons of momentum from the first set, the Wolfpack also took the second set. Virginia put more pressure on NC State, but on what was thought to be a dead play, Rice was able to hit the ball over the net to score while the entire Virginia team was in a huddle. There’s no doubt that this play was gutting for the Cavaliers, and the opposing team was never able to make a full comeback.

“We don’t stop until the whistle is blown,” said graduate libero Priscilla Hernandez. “We ended up getting the points and it was pretty nice.”

The third set saw a defensive collapse from the Wolfpack, letting the Cavaliers back in the game. A combination of service errors and a lack of assists piled up, amounting to a 25-20 score in favor of Virginia.

“To sustain a focus and level of play for three sets in a row to sweep somebody… it’s not easy,” Slabe said. “A lot of third sets are won by the team that is down.”

With NC State unable to sweep Virginia like it was against Notre Dame in its previous game, Hernandez fully asserted herself as the leader of the team. She was on the floor for the majority of the fourth set and recorded a team high 14 digs, but the majority of her impact didn’t show up in the box score.

Hernandez and Slabe were able to get the most out of Rice and the rest of the Wolfpack front row, with Rice recording five of her 13 total kills on the day in the fourth set. The contest was capped off with back-to-back aces from Hernandez to score points 24 and 25, giving the Pack the 3-1 victory.

Hernandez will play her final game as a member of the Wolfpack this weekend, and she expects her younger teammates to step up as leaders when she’s gone.

“Each girl is going to be having to take a little bit more on their plate, but I think they’re more than capable,” Hernandez said.

Slabe echoed Hernandez when it comes to the expectations for next season, as it’s clear that the team is in need of leadership. Slabe and his staff are not sure where that will come from, but he hopes to see some of the players entering their junior and senior years stepping up in practice and in the Pack’s final game of the season.

The Wolfpack will next travel to Syracuse on Saturday, Nov. 26. First serve against the Orange is set for noon to wrap up the season.

Staff Writer

I’m Griffin Cunningham, I’m a sophomore transfer student, so this is my first year at NC State and with TechSports. I’m from Fuquay-Varina by way of Maine, and I enjoy writing about basketball.