GREENSBORO – Sophomores Aleena McDaniel and Brooke Stamnes recorded double-doubles to help lead the North Carolina A&T team to an exhilarating 3-1 (25-21, 21, 28-30, 19) win over S.C. State, Friday evening at Moore Gymnasium.
The Aggies (3-18, 2-2 MEAC) also used the efforts of freshman setter Liz Martino who tabbed a career and match-high 44 assists. The Bulldogs (2-16 overall, 2-2) were led by Desire Waller's 23 kills.
McDaniel matched her career-high with 17 kills but set a new career-high in digs with 18. McDaniel had the hot hand for the Aggies in the first three sets where she recorded 15 of her kills. Stamnes came alive and delivered for A&T as she tossed in 11 kills in the last two sets to finish with 16. She added 12 digs and finished with a season-high four service aces.
“We don’t have one player that wins or loses matches for us,” head coach Hal Clifton said. “We’ve been so well-balanced and that was our focus. Aleena started the match off for us really well. Brooke started a little slow but she picked it up. Maris (Kellar) was really steady which we want to see. Liz did a nice job of settling down to the offense. She made great reads but overall it was a team effort and we’re excited about that.”
The intensity was high and both teams were looking for a much needed win, but A&T struck first and garnered some cushion after taking the first two sets. A&T held the lead throughout the majority of the first two sets, despite S.C. State staying within striking distance.
However in the third set, the Bulldogs finally got their breakthrough. A&T held an 11-4 lead after a 4-0 run but as the set continued, SCSU unrelentingly put points together and took a 26-25 advantage over the Aggies with a kill from Waller. Errors from both teams stretched the score and with the set tied at 28, the Bulldogs capitalized off a pair of Aggie errors to win the set.
The excitement spilled over into the fourth set, but the Aggies broke loose after the score was tied at 10 thanks to a Te'Borah Hawkins-Hollingsworth error. A&T used six Bulldog attack errors during an 8-0 rally to extend its lead to 18-10. But the Bulldogs tried to stage a comeback by scoring three straight points to cut A&T’s lead to 22-19 causing them to take a timeout. Those were the last points SCSU would score as the Aggies used McDaniel and Stamnes kills to end the match.
Waller added 11 digs to her totals. Victoria Ferguson finished with a match-high 24 digs.
A&T will host Savannah State on Sunday, Oct. 13 in a MEAC contest beginning at 1 p.m., at Moore Gymnasium.