Cougars fall to N.C. State in final of opening volleyball tournament

Despite an impressive showing both Friday and Saturday morning, the Cougars fell to N.C. State’s Wolfpack in four sets in the Hampton Inn Invitational on Saturday night.

With both squads boasting perfect records on the weekend, the title was at stake in the final match of the tournament.

Energy was high from the first kill, a powerful hit from Darcy Dorton, a  transfer who joins the Cougars from Penn State, with a voracious crowd behind the Cougars (2-1) to spur them on.

Both squads fought for every point with even play from both sides, before a mini-run from Charleston put them up 10-5.

The Wolfpack tightened up their defense and closed the gap, tying at 15 before taking their first lead.

With an impressive display at the net, N.C. State picked up the first set win 25-20.

Play went on much the same throughout the second set with frequent lead changes and mini-runs from both sides.

Charleston was able to maintain a small lead through the middle of the set and a big block from redshirt junior Kerstin Koehler stretched the lead to four before the Cougars put away the set, 25-20.

As the battle waged on in the third set, the crowd seemed to play a role in taking the Wolfpack out of their game, giving the Cougars an advantage for a short period of time.

Energetic play and an excellent display of teamwork put the Cougars up 15-11 but after a much-needed time out for NC State, the Pack came back to tie the set at 16.

Several errors and sloppy defense gave the Pack the edge it needed to take the third set 25-21.

After the Cougars clawed their way back from a five-point disadvantage early in the fourth set, big kills from sophomore Lizzie Theesfeld and Dorton pumped up the squad to get back in the game.

The grudge match wore on as the Cougars were desperate to extend the match to a fifth set, but back-to-back errors gave NC State a lead at 22-20.

The Pack capitalized on Charleston’s unforced errors and finished off the set 25-20 and the match 3-1.

Dorton and sophomore Sloane White lead all scorers with 19 and 10 kills respectively, with help from Koehler and junior Emily Neideffer, who each grabbed 8 kills each.

Redshirt senior Emily Shelton and sophomore Andi Zbojniewicz were active on defense, combining for 30 digs, while Koehler added 3 blocks.

The Cougars are back in action at TD Arena on Friday night against University of North Florida in their first match of the Courtyard Charleston North Classic. They will then play the Slovenian National Team in an exhibition match at noon on Saturday, followed by a match against Memphis at 7 that night.

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