GREENSBORO-The North Carolina A&T volleyball team wrapped up the Spartan-Aggie Invitational with a pair of matches on Saturday. The Aggies lost to UNC Greensboro and UNC Asheville in hard fought contests.
In their morning match at UNC Greensboro's Fleming Gymnasium, the Aggies were swept by the Spartans 25-9, 25-17, 25-18. In their afternoon match against UNC Asheville at Corbett Sports Center, the Aggies lost 25-14, 25-15, 25-20. The Aggies (0-11) were swept in all three matches of the invitational, marking their first tournament in which they have not won a set this season.
"We played hard in the invitational," said A&T head coach Hal Clifton. "But we're still trying to find the right mix of chemistry in our lineup. We've also got to work on eliminating our unforced errors and finding more consistency in some areas of our game."
In both matches, the Aggies struggled early but had their performances in the third set. Against UNC Greensboro, the Aggies had a .182 hitting percentage in the third set, while they hit .180 against UNC Asheville in the third.
Freshman Brooke Stamnes totaled a team-best 24 kills in the invitational with four service aces, 21 digs and four total blocks. Senior Andrea Evans posted a team-best .226 hitting percentage with four total blocks. Freshman Ashley Johnson totaled 16 digs in the match against UNC Greensboro, for her sixth double-figure digs match, and ended the Spartan-Aggie Invitational with 29 digs.
In set two against UNC Greensboro, the Aggies worked hard to pick up the set win. A block by Stamnes and Andrea Evans tied the set at 12-12. Later, a kill by Evans brought the Aggies within two at 16-14. A kill by Aprill McRae made it an 18-16 contest. The Spartans went on a four-point run to pull ahead and take the set.
In the third set, a kill by freshman Te'Borah Hawkins-Hollingswoth made it a 14-10 contest as the Aggies worked to rally. A kill by McRae brought A&T within three, leading the Spartans to call timeout. UNCG came out of the timeout and went on a 4-0 run to reestablish control of the set.
The Aggies returned home for their second home match of the season later in the day. A small but vocal crowd supported the Aggies during the match. Against UNC Asheville in the third set, McRae collected a kill to bring the Aggies within two at 11-9. Back-to-back kills from McRae allowed the Aggies to take a 12-11 lead, and the crowd began to stomp and cheer.
A&T grew its lead to 16-14 on a thunderous McRae kill. A Holly Shelton kill for UNCA and an Aggies attack error tied the set at 16 as the two teams tied up the match three more times during the set. Freshman Maris Kellar tied the set for the final time with a kill to make it 20-20. But UNCA collected four quick points to pull ahead and get to match point. A service ace by Bryn Pfeiffer gave the Bulldogs the set and match.
The Aggies will hit the road next week to face Gardner-Webb on Tuesday, Sept. 11 at 6 p.m., and then will compete in the Winthrop Invitational from Sept. 14-15, facing Winthrop, North Florida and Mercer in the tournament.