DURHAM-The North Carolina A&T volleyball team put up a fight against their arch-rival, N.C. Central, on Friday night at LeRoy T. Walker P.E. Complex, but lost the match in four (25-17, 21-25, 15-25, 25-22).
The Aggies (1-27, 1-5) had three players record double-digit kills in the match. Freshman outside hitter Brooke Stamnes posted her sixth double-double of the season with a team-best 14 kills and 10 digs. Freshman Te'Borah Hawkins-Hollingsworth had 11 kills and a .344 hitting percentage, while senior middle hitter Andrea Evans had 10 kills and a .350 hitting percentage in the match. But the Aggies weren't able to fully shut down the Eagles (6-19, 4-2) offense as four players totaled 10 or more kills, including 18 from Christine Anthony (who also had 14 digs) and 14 from Denni Johnson. N.C. Central hit .326 in the match, and kept the pressure up on the Aggies all evening.
"They came out with enthusiasm and energy and we didn't match it. We hung as well as we could but they outplayed us tonight," said A&T head coach Hal Clifton. "I thought I had the matchups I wanted. Their No. 7 [Anthony] played really well."
In the second set, the two teams fought a close match. The two teams tied at 14, before A&T went on a 4-0 run to pull ahead. Another 4-0 gave A&T 23-18 lead as Stamnes capped the run with a kill. Evans finished off the Eagles with a kill. Six kills by Stamnes and five from Evans helped pace the Aggies en route to their 23rd set victory of the year.
After the Eagles took over the Aggies in the third, the Aggies had trouble holding on to the lead in the fourth. The Aggies held a slim 21-19 lead, but the Eagles tied the match at 21 on an attack error by McRae. The Eagles won the next two points before Daniels worked to pull the Aggies to within one at 23-22. Russell slammed a kill to pull N.C. Central within one of match point. A kill by Ashley McCarthy sealed the victory for the Eagles.
Clifton said that the Aggies will work to improve upon their in-match energy and on making in-match defensive adjustments for their last four matches of the season.
The Aggies will continue their road swing by heading to Florida next weekend. Florida A&M will host the Aggies on Friday, Nov. 2 at 7 p.m., and A&T will compete at Bethune-Cookman on Sunday, Nov. 4 at 1 p.m. The Aggies will likely have to win each of their next four matches to finish the season in fourth place or better in the Southern Division to earn a berth into the 2012 MEAC Tournament.