The NC State volleyball team beat the Virginia Cavaliers 3-1 in the team’s ACC opener on Friday, Sept. 24 at Reynolds Coliseum.
The Wolfpack (7-5, 1-0 ACC) won the first set and bounced back from a tough second set to win the third and fourth sets, beating the Cavaliers (7-4, 0-1 ACC).
“It’s a win, and we’re happy about that,” said head coach Luka Slabe. “It took a few adjustments and some time for us to figure out some things offensively. I think our serve did a pretty good job. We kept UVA out of system pretty much most of the time so they couldn’t utilize their middle blockers.”
The Pack started out in control of the first set, going up 15-8 before the Cavs started to inch back on a 9-3 run to make the score 18-17. The Pack then scored the next three points to go up 21-17 and was up 24-21 with a chance to clinch the set, but the Cavs just wouldn’t go away, scoring the next three points to tie the score 24-24. However, the Pack closed out the set 27-25 to go up 1-0 in the match.
The two teams went back and forth to start the second set, but with the Pack down 11-10, the Cavs went on a quick 6-0 run to go up 17-10. The Pack would not get any closer than six as the Cavs took the set 25-14 and tied the match 1-1.
“It wasn’t as much as [Virginia] was playing fantastic, it was more so we were beating ourselves,” said senior outside hitter Jade Parchment. “We were making a lot of errors. We really weren’t playing our game. We just had a conversation of, ‘We need to play clean, we need to stay disciplined, let them make all the errors.’”
The Pack was in control again to start the third set, scoring the first five points and went up by as many as eight. The Cavs slowly but surely crept back into the set, getting as close as two, but with the score 23-21, the Pack scored the next two points to win the set and go up 2-1 in the match.
The Cavs were in the lead for most of the start of the fourth set, leading by as many as four, but the Pack took the lead 15-14 and would not look back, ending the set on a 6-1 run to take the set 25-20 and clinch the match 3-1.
Parchment led all players in kills with 18, while junior setter Kristen McDaniel led all players in assists with 42 and hitting percentage at .600. Freshman middle blocker Jada Allen had a season-high six blocks, freshman opposite hitter Amanda Rice had a season-high 14 points and graduate libero Kaylee Frazier led all players in digs with 21.
The Pack had a hitting percentage of .172 compared to .131 of the Cavs and had 52 kills to the Cavs’ 43.
After losing its first four conference matches to begin the 2020 season, the Pack started off on the right foot to begin the conference season in 2021.
“Last year, because of COVID and stuff, we didn’t have preseason games to warm up and go into our conference,” Parchment said. “We’ve had some time to work things out. We’ve had that warm up. We know how everything works, we’re making adjustments, and now we’re starting off strong straight into conference.”
The Pack has now won four of its last five matches and is 1-0 to start conference play, but the schedule is only going to get tougher from here on out.
“It’s always good to win, but at the end of the day, what matters is how you finish,” Slabe said. “I’m gonna be happy with any win, but I’m gonna be even more happy if I see slight improvement throughout this ACC season.”
Next up, the Pack hosts No. 4 Pitt on Sunday, Sept. 26 at 1 p.m. The match will be broadcast on ACC Network Extra.