WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – After a rough start, the Norfolk State volleyball team jumped ahead by a 2-1 margin over La Salle in the teams’ season opener at the Tribe Invitational at William & Mary. The Explorers, though, rebounded to win the final two sets to earn a 3-2 win over the Spartans at Kaplan Arena on Friday, August 28.
La Salle had control through the first set thanks to a 25-10 win to open things up. The Spartans rallied to win in extra points in the second set, 29-27, and NSU then pulled ahead in the match after taking the third set, 25-23.
The Explorers tied it up with a 25-17 victory in the fourth set before overcoming a two-point deficit late in the fifth set and prevailing in extra points, 16-14.
NSU, missing two of its top hitters, nevertheless gave it a ride after a horrendous start. The Spartans had just three kills and hit -.188 in the first set but finished the match with a .158 attack percentage. La Salle committed just 13 errors for the entire match while hitting .321.
Senior Angie Darcus paced the way for NSU, setting a new career high with 18 kills while adding 10 digs and two service aces. Junior Tori Tulensru and sophomore Clarke Tyler each added 10 kills, with Tyler tying her previous career high in the process. Tulensru also added a career-best 15 digs for a double-double.
The Explorers started the match on a 7-0 run and also outscored NSU 11-1 during the middle of the first set. But the Spartans wasted little time shaking that off, jumping ahead by a 7-3 score early in the second. Sydney Dailey hit a pair of kills during that run, part of a five-kill, career-high seven-dig afternoon for the junior. Darcus added three kills to keep NSU in the lead, but the Explorers forced an NSU timeout when they went ahead, 14-13.
Dailey ended that run with a kill, while Parker added two more and Tyler put down a kill for a 21-18 advantage. La Salle tied it up at 22-22, and then the teams went back and forth until Laura Kuhlmeier knocked down three kills in a four-serve span.
Twice she got La Salle to within set point, but Parker and Darcus saved NSU from a 2-0 deficit with kills of their own. An error on the Explorers and a kill by Tyler finally tied the match for the Spartans.
Darcus hit back-to-back service aces during a 7-0 run early in the third set for a five-point edge. La Salle eventually cut the lead to one and then tied it up on kills by Ashley Felton. Darcus gave NSU the lead back, but a 4-1 run a little later put La Salle ahead by one, 17-16.
Again, play went back and forth, with Parker and Darcus each adding two kills to eventually make it 22-20 in favor of the Spartans. The Explorers tied the score at 23-23 a few serves later, but Tulensru slammed down the last kill of the set before an error on La Salle put NSU ahead in the match, 2-1.
Ultimately it was not to be for Norfolk State. The Spartans could not dig themselves out of a 6-1 hole in the fourth set, getting no closer than three points the rest of the set. La Salle hit .375 in that fourth stanza and forced a Spartan timeout after taking a 6-3 lead in the fifth.
NSU, though, scored two points for every one by La Salle. The Explorers stubbed their toes early in that 8-3 NSU run before four different Spartans added kills for an 11-9 lead. Tied at 12-12 moments later, Kulhmeier then had a kill and a service ace to put La Salle on the brink of victory. A kill from Tulensru and a solo block by Parker kept NSU alive until two more kills from the Explorers finished the match.
The Spartans hit .318 in the last set as well as .311 in the second. Parker finished with nine kills, while senior Darcy Moore tallied NSU’s third double-double of the contest with 41 assists and 17 digs.
NSU had the edge in digs, 78-70. La Salle had an 11-6 advantage in service aces, although the Explorers also committed 17 service errors along the way.
NSU faces Gardner-Webb at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday and then host William & Mary at 7 to closer out the tournament.
Originally Posted on NSUSpartans.com | Used with Permission