GREENSBORO, N.C. – In a tightly contested matchup of former MEAC Southern Division foes, North Carolina A&T was able to get the last word in during a 3-2 victory over the Norfolk State volleyball team on Saturday night.
NSU won the first and third sets by scores of 25-22 and 25-15 at N.C. A&T’s Moore Gymnasium in the last matchup of the Spartan-Aggie Invitational co-hosted by UNCG and A&T. The Aggies took the second set, 25-19, and the fourth set, 25-16, to prevent a Spartan victory. A&T pulled ahead in the fifth set and held off a late NSU rally to claim a 15-11 win.
Senior Angie Darcus rebounded from Saturday’s earlier match to post a team-high 14 kills while hitting .222 with five digs, two service aces and a block. Junior Dominique Parker hit .292 with nine kills and four blocks, while sophomore Clarke Tyler added eight kills on a .294 attack percentage with four blocks as well.
As a team, the Spartans hit .156, slightly better than the .154 clip by the Aggies. North Carolina A&T (2-5) also had 58 kills to 44 for NSU (1-8), although the Aggies also committed 11 more attack errors on the night.
After A&T pulled away from NSU late in the fourth set to force a deciding fifth, the Spartans fell behind by a 5-2 score. A block by Tyler and sophomore Hope Forsythe tied it up at 5-all, but a 7-2 run forced an NSU timeout down by five, 12-7. A solo block by Parker ended a 4-1 run for the Spartans that cut the deficit to two at 13-11, but the Aggies took the next two points for the match win.
Darcus had five kills in the opening set, when North Carolina A&T won five of the first six points before the Spartans scored the next four. After falling behind by a 9-6 score, the Spartans proceeded to win 10 of the next 12 points, which included three kills and a solo block by Darcus.
The Aggies called timeout and were able to cut the Spartan lead to two on several occasions, the last at 24-22. Darcus, though, added one last kill to give NSU the opening set victory.
The euphoria did not last, as A&T won nine of the first 10 and 11 of the first 13 points of the second set. The Spartans battled back, aided in part by a 7-2 run that made it 12-9, but the Aggies quickly extended the lead to seven. The Spartans got no closer than five after that.
The Aggies built a two-point lead in the third set, but Darcus capped a short 4-0 spurt to put the Spartans in the lead, 10-9. She also had a pair of service aces during an 8-0 run for NSU that put the Spartans ahead by six. They then won seven of the last 10 points of the set to take a 2-1 lead.
The Spartans fell behind by a three-point margin in the fourth. Tyler had a kill and a block, and Darcus added a pair of kills to knot the score at 6-6, and two errors on the Aggies a short time later gave NSU a one-point edge. A&T went ahead by three, and the Spartans called timeout as they eventually fell behind by six. They never threatened after that, forcing that final set.
Junior Alex Irizarry had a match-high 19 digs for NSU.
Brooke Stamnes added 19 kills and 13 digs to lead N.C. A&T. Samara Brown tallied 14 kills, while Alyssa Pitt finished with 10 kills and six blocks.
NSU will host Radford on Tuesday at 5 p.m. at Joseph Echols Hall in the Spartans first home match of the year