Texas A&M claims 3-1 win against North Carolina State in Round 1
AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas A&M won its 10th consecutive match with a 3-1 victory against North Carolina State in the first round of the NCAA tournament. The Aggies posted a 21-25, 25-12, 25-23, 25-20 decision against the Wolfpack at Gregory Gym.
Lindsey Miller led the Aggies' attack with 17 kills, a .469 hitting percentage and seven blocks. Allie Sawatzky notched six kills, a .545 hitting percentage, 40 assists and five digs. Alisia Kastmo ended the match with 12 kills, a .269 hitting percentage, six digs and three blocks.Tori Mellinger registered seven kills and 12 digs.
The Wolfpack won the opening set 25-21. The squads played on an even keel through the first 30 points, tied at 15 before NC State went on a 4-1 run to take a 19-16 advantage. Texas A&M eventually whittled the lead down to 20-19, but the Aggies were unable to reclaim the lead for the remainder of the set. A&M's biggest lead of the set was two points on four different occasions, including 11-9 on the latest occasion.
After getting out-hit .242-.368 in the opening set, the Aggies responded to hold a .362-.170 edge in hitting percentage for the last three sets.
The Aggies came swarming back in the second set, earning the 25-12 decision. After going without a block in the first set, Texas A&M tallied seven in the second, including a solo and five assists by Miller. The set was tied at four before the Aggies created separation with a 9-2 run, staking claim to a 13-6 edge. NC State drew no closer than six points, and the Texas A&M lead first ballooned to 13 points at 22-9.
In the third set, Texas A&M gained the momentum following a Wolfpack service error and three consecutive kills by Kastmo to break a 4-4 tie and grab a 9-5 edge.
North Carolina State worked back into the third set to tie it at 11 but couldn't wrestle the lead from the Aggies. Three kills apiece by Miller and Shelby Sullivan sparked a 10-5 run for the Maroon and White as they claimed a 21-16 lead. The Wolfpack knotted the game at 22 with a block by Megan Cyr.
Miller gave A&M the edge with a kill, and an attack error by NC State's Brie Merriwether gave A&M breathing room at 24-22. Dariyan Hopper cut the lead to one with a kill, but Sullivan's attack found the floor for the set-clinching point and the 25-23 decision.
The fourth set was tightly contested through the first two-thirds of action with the score tied 11 times, including the last time at 16. A kill by Mellinger, two kills by Kastmo and a service ace by Mellinger gave A&M a 20-17 edge, and the Aggies coasted to the five-point decision capped off by a service ace by Heather Reynolds for match point.
The loss ended North Carolina State's season with a 22-10 mark.