GREENSBORO – They came, they saw, they conquered, and in that order the North Carolina A&T volleyball team had its best hitting display of the season which helped it to rout N.C. Central 3-0 (25-14, 12, 21) in a MEAC match, Friday evening at Moore Gymnasium.
There were many things to celebrate for the Aggies who pulled off a pivotal victory on their home court. Impressive hitting, a balanced offense and defense were all deciding factors which helped the Aggies dominate the Eagles.
One of the reasons why A&T yielded such a strong attacking performance and hit .442 as a team was due to sophomore Te'Borah Hawkins-Hollingsworth who finished with a single-match record .833 hitting percentage. Hawkins-Hollingsworth shattered the previous record of .667 held by current assistant coach Arlene Mitchell set in 2003 with 10 kills on 12 attempts. She didn’t commit any errors as her performance was flawless and she notched her third double-digits kill match of the season. Freshman Jillian Nobles also landed a hitting performance of .833 which included five kills on six attempts.
“I’m really proud of the team and we’re excited about the win,” head coach Hal Clifton said. “We were very aggressive at the net and we got great production from Te'Borah. We know that she is a great player and she continues to show that. “
The win pushed the Aggies (5-20) to 4-2 in the MEAC. A&T is currently tied for second in the MEAC Southern Division with Bethune-Cookman. The Eagles fell to 2-22 overall and 2-4 in the conference.
A&T started off the match with a boost of energy which erupted from the sidelines, the court, and the stands. The Aggies led the entire set and took a 14-9 lead over NCCU before the Eagles decided to call a timeout. The Eagles came out of the timeout and scored the next points but the Aggies put together a 5-0 run to extend their lead to 19-10 from which NCCU was never able to respond to.
The Aggies broke away early in the second set and coasted to an 18-9 lead. NCCU tried to answer A&T’s challenge but the Aggies continued to dominate. The Eagles sliced the Aggies advantage to 20-12 but A&T used three kills from Hawkins-Hollingsworth and one from Brooke Stamnes and Aleena McDaniel to win the game.
The third set was tied at 2 until Jillian Nobles served five straight aces to thrust the Aggies to a 7-2 lead. A&T remained in front, but NCCU attempted to mount a comeback. The Eagles scored five unanswered points to cut A&T's lead to 24-21. But the Aggies won the set and match with a kill from Maris Kellar.
McDaniel led all players with 12 kills. McDaniel posted a career-high .500 attack percentage and added seven digs. Stamnes tallied seven kills. Chelsea Fox finished with a match-high 19 assists and Liz Martino tossed in 15. The Aggies recorded 11 service aces with six belonging to Nobles. Ashley Johnson finished with a match-high 11 digs.
A&T will visit Wofford on Wednesday, Oct. 30 for a non-conference match beginning at 7 p.m.