EAST GREENSBORO (November 8, 2018) – North Carolina A&T did some things you like to see a volleyball team do heading into their conference tournament. Yes, winning is one of those things.
N.C. A&T won their third straight match with a 3-0 (25-23, 25-19, 25-13) win over rival North Carolina Central Thursday night at McDougald-McLendon Arena. Sophomore Edie Brewer led the Aggies by securing another double-double with 12 kills and 20 assists to go along with six digs. It was her sixth double-double of the season and the 12th of her career. Brewer also finished with a .455 hitting percentage.
Sophomore Courteney Pitt had her seventh straight match with double-figure kills as she finished with 11 kills, four blocks and a .333 hitting percentage.
Beyond the numbers and the win, N.C. A&T coach Hal Clifton also enjoyed watching his team supporting each other as the Aggies head into the 2018 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Championship Tournament, Nov. 16-18.
“All of our players were tremendous tonight,” said Clifton. “Even when a player was not in the match, they were so fired up and into the match. I think their energy and what they contributed from the sideline was absolutely fantastic. It’s a rivalry match so everyone has to be ready to play. Everyone has to do their part, and everyone did that.”
That support was needed quickly as the Aggies found themselves trailing 20-16 in the first set. A kill from Brewer ad attack error by the Eagles forced a timeout by NCCU as the Aggies closed the deficit to two. Out of the timeout, an Eagles attack error got the Aggies to within one before NCCU extended its lead again with a kill from Arlanda Faulkner and an Aggies attack error.
But the Aggies scored the next five points to reach set point at 24-22. Freshman Lily Walton had two kills during and teamed with freshman Macenzie Richards on block assists. Faulkner answered with a kill, but Pitt ended the set and completed the come-from-behind win with a kill.
N.C. A&T did not have to rally in the second. In fact, they took a 19-12 lead in the second. The Eagles (6-18, 4-6 MEAC) would as close as 21-18 on a Richards attack error. An Eagles attack error and a kill from junior Christa Wilson extended the Aggies lead to five forcing a timeout by NCCU. The break in action helped momentarily as Christine Alcox scored a kill to cut N.C. A&T’s lead to 23-19. But a ball handling error and a Brewer kill gave the Aggies a two-set lead.
The Aggies rolled to a third-set win to earn the season sweep of the Eagles with this season’s earlier match also ending in a three-set sweep.
The Aggies (12-11, 7-3 MEAC) go into the tournament having won their last three in three-set sweeps. For the second straight season, the Aggies are guaranteed to finish .500 or better for the second straight season.
“We’ll have to do a little bit better with blocks. We’ll work on our attacking. I think we took a couple of swings that probably weren’t the best decisions. But I can’t fault the aggressiveness,” said Clifton as his team prepares for the MEAC tournament. “Overall I thought the chemistry on the court was good. We just have to remain competitive point by point.”