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UNCW's Upset Bid Comes Up Short At NCSU

Courtesy: UNCW Athletic Communications  
Release: 09/11/2012
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RALEIGH, North Carolina - Sophomore Dariyan Hopper recorded a match-high 17 kills to lead four players in double figures as NC State rallied from a 2-0 deficit to defeat UNCW, 3-2 (21-25, 22-25, 26-24, 25-16, 15-11), in collegiate volleyball action Tuesday at Reynolds Coliseum.

The Wolfpack improved to 9-1 overall as they extended their winning streak to four matches. The Seahawks, meanwhile, dipped to 6-5 on the season with the five-set setback.

"Tonight's match was a heartbreaking loss after being ahead in the third set," said UNCW Head Coach Amy Bambenek. "Our middles did a great job attacking and blocking tonight. Once we lost the momentum, it was hard to get back. Despite the outcome, I was very proud of the team's effort tonight."

Hopper was joined in double figures by sophomore Nikki Glass, who tallied 16 kills, and junior Brie Merriweather and freshman Megan Cormier, who notched 13 spikes apiece. Senior Megan Cyr piloted the Wolfpack attack to a .236 hitting percentage as she dished out 52 assists. Sophomore Alston Kearns notched a team-best 22 digs while Cyr added 15 bumps to record the double-double.

Senior Jennifer Mallard scored 12 kills and sophomore McKenzie Keightley added 10 for UNCW to highlight a balanced Seahawks attack that saw five players finish with eight or more spikes.

On the block, Keightley recorded a match-best nine total blocks, including three solo rejections, while senior Natalie Lahaie and freshman Meredith Peacock chipped in five blocks each.

Lahaie also dished out 41 assists and added six kills and eight digs in an all-around effort. Junior Haley Collins tallied a team-high 22 digs to highlight UNCW's back row efforts.  

Trailing 17-12 midway through the first set, a NC State attack error ignited a 13-4 UNCW run that lasted through the end of the frame and gave the Seahawks a 25-21 victory.

With the score tied at 14-all in the second set, the Wolfpack scored six of eight points to build a 20-16 advantage. UNCW would once again put together a late rally, notching nine of the last 11 points of the frame, including each of the final four points scored, to post a 25-22 victory.

The Seahawks controlled play for most of the third set, racing out to a 12-6 advantage on its way to building a 20-13 advantage. The Seahawks would force match point, 24-21, later in the frame before the Wolfpack battled back, scoring five straight points to win the third set, 26-24, and extend the match.   

NC State carried its momentum into the fourth set, breaking open a 15-14 frame with a 10-2 run to record a 25-16 victory and force a fifth and deciding set.

In the fifth set, the Wolfpack held a 5-4 edge in the deciding set when a kill from Hopper would send NC State on a 9-5 spurt that gave them a 13-9 edge. The two sides would then trade points until, with the score at 14-11, another Hopper spike would give the Wolfpack a 15-11 decision and complete the come-from-behind victory.  

UNCW returns to action Friday as it takes on host UNC Greensboro in a 7:30 p.m. contest in the Spartan Spiketacular. NC State opens ACC play Friday as it entertains UNC Chapel Hill in a 7 p.m. contest.

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