2017 NCAA TOURNAMENT – AUSTIN POD
NC STATE DEF. OREGON STATE 3-2 (25-18, 19-25, 25-21, 21-25, 15-13)
- NC State improves to 21-11; Oregon State falls to 21-12
- Attendance: N/A
- Box Score
NC State earned its first ever NCAA Tournament win in dramatic fashion behind a fifth-set comeback over Oregon State. The Wolfpack trailed 10-7 in the fifth, but didn’t let the deficit affect them as they ended Oregon State’s season and move on the second round were they have never been before.
There was question over if NC State should have been in the field by some after making it in as one of the last four teams, but after the first set all of those questions should have been answered. Julia Brown (19 kills, 14 digs) knocked down the first kill as NC State took the first four. From there, they road the coat tails of Kylie Pickrell (62 assists, 21 digs) and company, as both Pickrell and Brown would make huge plays later in the match.
In the second though, it was the team ‘on the cusp’ in the latest VolleyMob Top 25 holding the lead throughout, as Oregon State saw the score tied three times but never wavered. The defense of Grace Massey (29 digs) came up big, but still things stayed close throughout. They were able to hit a late jolt though as a 3-0 run finished the set off at 25-19 with Haylie Bennett (nine kills, .348, seven blocks) logging the final kill.
Following the intermission, Oregon State fell behind 8-4 but came back to even at 11. NC State stiff-armed the adversity though and pushed ahead for a 25-21 set victory after taking the final three points including Melissa Evans (15 kills, .387) ending the set. The fourth was a reflection of that, as Oregon State was the early leader until NC State evened at 21. A 4-0 Beavers spurt that featured two Bennett/Kory Cheshire (12 kills, five blocks) blocks held off the Wolfpack and forced a fifth.
The Beavers garnered the early lead in the fifth as well, as a Mary-Kate Marshall (19 kills, eight digs) service ace forced an NC State timeout at 6-3. The two exchanged points to 10-7, but then Brown and Evans both logged a pair of kills to storm in front 11-10. After Marshall tied at 11, Evans and Brown each put down another to go in front 13-11. Three points later, NC State had match point at 14-13. Maybe no one was better for the NC State offense on the day than Bree Bailey, who sure enough put down the final kill to bookmark the remarkable comeback by the Wolfpack.
It was an unfortunate loss for Marshall, who came to Oregon State as an unheralded recruit and had been through so many ups and downs with the program, but the senior laid it all out on the line. At the end of the day, NC State proved to have just enough to sneak by with a better hitting percentage (.235 to .185) and more digs (105-91) even though Oregon State had more aces (6-4) and blocks (13-11). The Wolfpack will go for their second NCAA Tournament win tomorrow in a match at Texas.
#6 TEXAS DEF. FAIRFIELD 3-0 (25-16, 25-18, 25-17)
- #6 Texas improves to 25-2; Fairfield falls to 25-7
- Attendance: 3,817
- Box Score
In the second match from Austin, the hosting and sixth-ranked Big 12 champion Texas Longhorns dispatched of Fairfield and the MAAC champions in straight sets.
While the defense was good in holding Fairfield to a .123 mark, it was the offense that jumps off the page in terms of statistics. The Longhorns hit .400 as a team, including .452 in the first. No one exemplified that more than senior middle blocker Chiaka Ogbogu, who knocked down 11 kills on just 12 swings with zero errors (.917). Ogbogu may as well have been the matches’ MVP, as she also logged four blocks.
Only one Longhorn notched more kills in Micaya White (12) as she also hit .281 with six digs. Ashley Shook (33 assists) facilitated the offense as four Texas players hit over .300 led by Ogbogu and Ebony Nwanebu (seven kills, .778).
In the losing effort, Megan Theiller recorded 15 kills (.184, eight digs) but it wasn’t enough to keep up with the Texas block that out-performed Fairfield to the tune of an 8-1 team block advantage.
The victory pushes Texas to the second round where they will host NC State tomorrow, as the Longhorns look to make yet another Sweet 16 as they go for a third straight National Championship match appearance.