RALEIGH, N.C. – The NC State volleyball team came up short in a pair of five-set matches Saturday evening inside Reynolds Coliseum, as the Wolfpack fell to Missouri State (3-2: 25-19, 21-25, 27-25, 15-25, 15-13) in its first contest of the day and No. 8 Kansas (3-2: 26-28, 25-17, 22-25, 25-17, 15-8) in the nightcap.
Facing a pair of NCAA Tournament teams from a year ago, the Pack rallied to force a fifth set versus MSU before falling short in the decisive frame and Kansas won the fourth set then went on to win the fifth set. Kansas moves to 3-0 on the year, Missouri State is now 2-1 and NC State falls to 0-3.
Thoughts on today’s matches…
“I’m very impressed,” said head coach Linda Hampton-Keith. “We knew we were challenging ourselves right out of the gate and I think the hardest part is that our record doesn’t reflect the level of volleyball that we’re playing at right now.
“It’s frustrating on one hand, but at the same time we have to stay true to our process and have perspective of what we’ve accomplished even though it’s not in our record.”
Match Rewind Versus Missouri State
– NC State started strong against Missouri State, as the Wolfpack recorded a .389 attacking percentage in the first set with 17 kills on 36 swings with only three errors.
– Leading 19-17 in the frame, the Pack won six of the next eight points to win the first set, 25-19.
– In the second set, Missouri State countered with a 25-21 win to even the match at one set apiece.
– The Bears slipped past the Wolfpack in the third, 27-25, after fending off two set-point attempts for NC State.
– NCSU was dominant in the fourth frame to earn a 25-15 victory, forcing a decisive fifth set. The Wolfpack jumped out to an 11-4 advantage in the set and never looked back.
– A 3-0 run gave NC State a 6-3 lead in the fifth set, but MSU responded with three unanswered points to even the score at 6-6.
– The Wolfpack saved match point twice before the Bears were able to convert to win the frame, 15-13, and the overall match, 3-2.
– Junior Kylie Pickrell enjoyed a career performance in the contest, as she recorded a triple double with 47 assists, 19 digs and 13 kills.
– Freshman Melissa Evans was also stellar with 20 kills on 45 swings to chart a .400 attacking percentage.
– Julia Brown, a senior from Davidson, N.C., swatted 17 kills and classmate Kaitlyn Kearney had 13.
Match Rewind Versus #8 Kansas
– Despite having less than hour in between its match with Missouri State and Kansas, NC State came out firing in the nightcap against the Jayhawks.
– The first set was even early before a 5- 2 run gave Kansas a 19-16 lead. The Wolfpack countered with a 6-1 run to go ahead 22-20.
– NC State fought off Kansas’ first set-point attempt at 26-25 thanks to a kill from Bree Bailey. A service ace from Pickrell followed before a combination block from Bailey and Sopitan to cap the set, 28-26.
– The Wolfpack had no answer for Kansas in the second set, as the Jawyhawks went on to win the frame, 25-17.
– With KU leading 15-12 in the third set, NC State won eight of the next 10 points to take a 20-17 advantage and held on to win the frame 25-22 to take a 2-1 lead in the overall match.
– The Jayhawks answered again in the fourth frame, as they won it 25-17 behind a .412 attacking percentage as a team.
– Kansas raced out to an early lead in the decisive set and the Wolfpack tried to overcome the deficit, but was unable as the Jayhawks took the frame 15-8 and the match, 3-2.
– Brown led the Wolfpack offensively in the match with 20 kills complemented by a .368 attacking percentage. Evans swatted 16 kills, while Bailey registered 10.
– Pickrell dished out 35 assists to go along with 11 digs and four kills, while Becky Porter handed out 17 assists and tallied 10 digs for a double-double performance as well.
– Redshirt sophomore Makenzie Kuchmaner charted a career and match-high 21 digs in the contest to lead the Pack defensively.
NC State returns to action next weekend when the squad travels to San Juan, Puerto Rico, for the SEC-ACC Challenge. The Wolfpack plays No. 12 Florida in its first match of the weekend on Saturday, Sept. 2 at 6 p.m.