Aggies Get Dramatic Win Over MDES
HAMPTON, Va. (September 22, 2017) – In one of the biggest wins in the era of head coach Hal Clifton, the North Carolina A&T volleyball team defeated Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Northern Division perennial power Maryland Eastern Shore 3-2 Friday evening on the first day of the North-South Challenge at Holland Hall on the campus of Hampton University.
Coming into this season, the Hawks had finish in the top-2 of the northern division eight out of the last 10 seasons including winning six northern division titles in the last 10 years.
“It was a very big and exciting win for us tonight,” said Clifton. “Maryland Eastern Shore is a quality opponent, and I am proud of our team tonight in the way they competed and kept their focus. We came up with the big plays when we needed to, especially at the end of the fifth set.”
Two Aggies posted double-figure kills led by senior Samara Brown’s 15th career double-double (12 kills and 11 digs). Brown attempted a season-high 41 attacks and three total blocks. Freshman Courteney Pitt ended with 11 kills and aided the defense with a season-best six digs. Freshman Edie Brewer posted nine digs and tied a season-high with four service aces and three blocks. Freshman Milanna Morgan tied a season-high with a team-best 15 digs. Senior Jasmine Lindor had seven blocks for the second time this season.
Wilson and Brewer gave the Aggies a 5-3 advantage in the fifth set. A Lindor kill forced MDES to call timeout as they trailed 7-4. Two MDEs attack errors after the timeout gave the Aggies a five-point advantage. The Hawks fought back and trailed 10-9 after their own 5-1 run. N.C. A&T scored the next two points to take a 12-9 lead and force another Hawks timeout. The Aggies maintained that lead until they reached set and match point at 14-11.
Three Aggie attack errors helped the Aggies go on a 4-0 run to reach set and match point of their own at 15-14. A service error and another kill by Brown put the Aggies in front, 16-15. The match came down to a pair of kills by Pitt after the Hawks tied the set for the seventh time. Pitt’s kills came from assists by Morgan and Brewer as the Aggies pulled off the big win.
“We could have easily collapsed after not putting the match away with two points left,” said Clifton. “But then we saved a match point and kept our composure. The numbers weren't impressive but the fight and effort was. It was a great team effort."
A rough first set for N.C. A&T featured only four kills as the Hawks posted a .208 hitting percentage. The Aggies trailed 11-4 early, fought back to cut the lead to 13-10 before the Hawks closed out the set by outscoring the Aggies 12-4. Set two was tight early until an 11-4 run put MDES ahead 17-10. After an Aggies timeout, they returned and went on their own run to bring the score to 18-15 after kills by Alyssa Pitt, Brewer, Lindor and Courteney Pitt.
Trailing 21-16 a pair of attack error by MDES began an 8-2 run putting N.C. A&T on the verge of a come-from-behind set victory. Sophomore Camille Uadiale’s kill from a setup by Morgan made the comeback official.
The Hawks took the third set, leaving them one set away from defeating the Aggies. It didn’t help that the Aggies opened the fourth set trailing 6-4. Kills from Brown, Brewer, Alyssa Pitt along with errors by the Hawks were all part of a 7-2 run that gave the Aggies a 12-8 advantage. The Hawks fought back, eventually tying the set at 16 on an Iva Vujosevic kill. Minutes later a Brewer attack error gave the Hawks a 21-20 lead. A 4-0 run highlighted by kills from Brown and Courteney Pitt put the Aggies one point away from tying the match at 2 as they led 24-21. MDES responded with a pair of points, but Lindor sealed the win with a kill, setting up the exciting fifth set.
Maryland Eastern Shore’s Iva Vujosevic had a match-high 16 kills with 11 digs and Rachel Kayongo finished with 13 kills.
N.C. A&T completes play at the MEAC North-South Challenge on Saturday, Sept 23 with matches against Hampton at 11 a.m. and Norfolk State at 4 p.m.