RALEIGH – At home in Reynolds Coliseum, the NC State Women’s Volleyball team comes into an ACC showdown versus the Clemson Tigers red hot. They are riding a current three game winning streak and have won thirteen of their last fifteen games.
The first set was a back and forth affair. The Wolfpack took an early lead but Clemson soon took control of the pace to find themselves with a 19-13 advantage.
NC State increased their urgency, and ended up holding the Tigers to just 2 more points for the remainder of the set.
“They lacked focus in the early sets, and did not play with enough intensity” said NC State volleyball manager Tom Corvisiero in a brief postgame interview he kindly allowed me to record. The tempo for the second set was completely in Clemson’s favor from the get go.
They controlled the early points and built yet another considerable lead. Clemson found themselves up 18-12 after a kill by Teni Sopitan cut it to a six point deficit. However, after a NC timeout, the Pack dug an even deeper hole resulting in a 23-15 lead for Clemson.The Pack rattled off 3 straight points but ended up dropping the set 25-19.
The third set was unlike the competitive first two periods; NC State dominated. Pushing the kill differential to a double digit difference in favor of the Red and White, which ended up a 60-39 Wolfpack advantage at the conclusion of the contest.
Corvisiero vouched for Sopitan as his player of the game as she racked up an impressive 15 kills to go along with Bree Bailey’s team leading 16 kills. The Wolfpack started showing why their 17-8 record is not a good representation of how well they have been playing lately.
NC State calmly picked apart the crumbling Tiger defense, exploiting holes in their blocking and consistently striking aggressively. The Wolfpack grabbed the lead early in the fourth set forcing Clemson to play catch up. After an errant shot by Clemson middle blocker Megan McGinley, State took a 20-15 advantage looking to close out the set and the match.
The Pack were all business in the clutch, feeding off the home crowd who could feel an impending victory, something they have gotten used to of late. Outside hitter for Clemson Kaylin Korte returns a slam from Julia Brown far out of bounds, clinching another win for the Wolfpack.
“Clemson is at the bottom of the conference, but this goes to show you that any team can challenge in this league. The team needs to stay focused and maintain constant energy for the entire clock going forward” said Corvisiero just after the game ended.
Even though it was not the cleanest of games against a struggling opponent, the Pack pick up another conference win and extend their win streak to four games. They look to keep their momentum going as they take on Georgia Tech at home this Saturday.