NORFOLK, Va. - With a few more players and a few more matches played, the North Carolina A&T volleyball team is steadily improving.
After putting together a match where they recorded their highest hitting percentage of the season, the Aggies followed up by taking their first set of the year on Tuesday night at Norfolk State's Echols Hall.
Norfolk State still outlasted the Aggies with a 3-1 win (25-18, 23-25, 25-15, 25-12). Despite the loss, head coach Hal Clifton did not discount how progress.
"It was against a very good Norfolk State team," said Clifton. "The girls played really well in the first two sets. We stuck to the game plan and figured out a way to finish off a set."
In the second set, the Aggies took control of the match on an Andrea Evans kill. Norfolk State followed with an attack error to give the Aggies a 22-20 advantage. The Spartans moved to within one on an attack error, but sophomore Jenea Daniels kept the pressure on with an attack that fell to the floor.
Megan Lavo's kill made it a one-point match again, but the Spartans could not sustain the momentum as they followed the point with a service error. Norfolk State's Adriana Ramos made it 24-23 with a kill, but a ball handling error by Kristen Burt tied the match at 1.
Before winning the second set, the Aggies had a nice showing in the first. After falling behind 16-11, three straight Spartan attack errors cut the lead to two. Daniels' service ace brought the Aggies to within one at 17-16. The Aggies kept the set close until an attack error, a service error and a Burt kill helped the Spartans pull away.
Daniels led the Aggies with eight kills, nine digs and three total blocks. Sophomore Chelsea Fox had a career-high 23 assists and sophomore Devonte' Reese finished with 12 digs.
"Chelsea did a great job of putting our hitters in a position to score," said Clifton. "Our middles really produced for us tonight."
The Aggies play on the road on Oct. 4 against Radford in a non-conference contest at 6 p.m.