VCU COMEBACK FALLS SHORT IN SEASON-OPENER AT N.C. STATE  

Tournament: N.C. State Invitational
Score: N.C. State 3, VCU 2 (25-21, 25-15, 21-25, 17-25, 15-11)
Location: Raleigh, N.C. (Reynolds Coliseum)
Records: VCU 0-1, N.C. State 1-0

The short story: Junior outside hitter Vicky Giommarini blasted a team-high 16 kills to help lead a valiant comeback, but it wasn't enough for VCU to overcome host N.C. State Friday night in Raleigh, N.C.

OPENING VOLLEY

  • Giommarini, the 2017 Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament MVP, also supplied nine digs and three blocks to the VCU effort.
  • Senior middle blocker Tori Baldwin hit .538 with nine kills and six blocks for the Rams.
  • On the back row, junior Madalon Simpson dug 17 balls, while freshman Alyna Draper supplied 10, as well as three service aces, in her collegiate debut.
  • Junior opposite Gina Tuzzolo added seven kills, seven digs, three blocks and two aces to the VCU cause.
  • Melissa Evans sparked the Wolfpack with a match-high 18 kills, while hitting .310.

THE DIFFERENCE

  • VCU never led in the fifth set, but pulled within 12-11. However, a kill by Teri Sopitan, followed by a pair of VCU errors, pushed the Wolfpack to the victory.
  • The Rams trailed 2-0 in the match before mounting their comeback. In the third, Baldwin keyed a critical 8-3 run with a pair of kills and a block as VCU turned a two-point deficit into a 16-11 advantage. In the fourth, VCU hit .300 and built a 20-8 lead on the way to a 25-17 win.
  • The Wolfpack recorded 61 digs to VCU's 54.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

  • Baldwin continued her march up the VCU career blocks list. With six Friday, she became just the second player in school history to reach the 400-block mark. With 404 blocks, she trails only Kelsie Clegg (434) on the school's career list.
  • VCU, which led the country in blocks per set in 2017, outblocked N.C. State 11.0 to 8.0 Friday. The Rams also served up eight aces.

NEXT UP
VCU will return to the court on Saturday, Aug. 25 at 4 p.m. when it takes on Washington State in Day Two of the N.C. State Invitational.

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