A&T Beats Grambling, Loses Heartbreaker to ASU
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (August 26, 2017) – North Carolina A&T volleyball will leave Alabama with an overall good experience even though they lost a heartbreaker to end the ISTAP Collegiate Cup tournament Saturday on the campus of Alabama State. The Aggies defeated Grambling State 3-1 (18-25, 25-12, 25-17, 25-19) Saturday morning at Lockhart Gymnasium. They followed that with a 3-2 (20-25, 26-28, 28-26, 25-16, 15-10) loss to tournament host ASU.
N.C. A&T is now 2-1 on the season. A win over the Hornets would have given the Aggies their first 3-0 start since 2001.
Seniors Alyssa Pitt and Jasmine Lindor and freshman Edie Brewer had superb weekends. Pitt posted a .355 hitting percentage in the tournament and averaged 3.17 kills and 1.0 blocks in 12 sets played. Lindor’s hitting percentage was .375, and she averaged 1.6 kills and 1.3 blocks. Brewer’s hitting percentage also exceeded .300 with a .358 hitting percentage over 12 sets, while averaging 2.0 kills, 6.3 assists and 1.5 digs.
“All in all, it was a good weekend for us,” said N.C. A&T coach Hal Clifton. “It allowed us to see where we are as a team and allowed us to see areas where we need to improve to be a top contender for a MEAC title.”
Clifton’s team was tremendously close to matching the start of the 2001 team after taking the first two sets against defending Southwestern Athletic Conference champion ASU. Brewer brought them even closer when she took a pass from junior setter Megan Wiggins and scored on a kill to give the Aggies a 24-23 lead in the third set. The Hornets (2-0) stayed in the match thanks to a kill from Krysta Medearis.
An ASU service error put the Aggies one point away from the sweep again before Payten Clark tied the set at 25. Another service error gave the Aggies the advantage again, but the Hornets got a kill from Ni’yesha Brown, Brewer was called for a ball handling error and ASU won the set on another Brown kill. The thrilling third-set win propelled the Hornets to a 9-point win in the fourth set. They took a commanding 12-6 lead in the fifth set before going on to win the match.
“What a heartbreaking loss that was,” said Clifton. “We played well enough to win at times but could not finish the third set. Alabama State played well and forced us into some tough situations. We played some great points that just did not end in our favor.”
Brewer finished with nine kills, 27 assists, eight digs, three services aces and two total blocks. Fellow freshman Courteney Pitt finished with 17 kills, 10 coming in the first two sets where she posted a .400 hitting percentage. Alyssa Pitt ended the afternoon with 11 kills and seven total blocks. Lindor also had seven total blocks and Wiggins posted her first double-double as an Aggie with 13 assists and 12 digs.
Against GSU, senior Samara Brown recorded her 12th career double-double with 11 kills and 14 digs. She also added six total blocks to lead N.C. A&T. After dropping the first set against the Tigers, the Aggies cruised to a Set 2 victory behind three kills apiece from Brown, Lindor and Alyssa Pitt. Lindor added two service aces to help the effort.
Brown and Alyssa Pitt had four kills apiece in the third set to lead the Aggies, while the Aggies closed out the Tigers behind four kills from Alyssa Pitt in the fourth. Alyssa Pitt finished with 13 kills for the match. Lindor added nine kills and four total blocks and Brewer posted 31 assists. The Aggies next contest is at Elon on Aug. 29 at 7 p.m. Their first home match is 7 p.m., Friday, Sept. 1 at Moore Gymnasium.
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