AUSTIN, Texas - Texas A&M won its 10th consecutive match with a 3-1 victory over North Carolina State in the NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship first round. The Aggies posted a 21-25, 25-12, 25-23, 25-20 decision over the Wolfpack at Gregory Gym.
The Aggies, who improved to 25-5 on the year, return to action on Friday at 7 p.m. when they will play either No. 3 Texas or Colgate at Gregory Gym.
Lindsey Miller spearheaded the Aggies' attack on the afternoon with 17 kills, a .469 hitting percentage and seven blocks. Miller's seven blocks tied a season-high. Allie Sawatzky notched six kills, a .545 hitting percentage, 40 assists and five digs. Alisia Kastmo ended the match with 12 kills, a .269 hitting percentage, six digs and three blocks.
Tori Mellinger registered seven kills and 12 digs. Her 12 digs boosted her career tally to 1,474 passing two-time All-American and three-time Olympian Stacy Sykora (1,471 - 1995-98) for second place on A&M's all-time list.
The Wolfpack won the opening set 25-21. The squads played on an even keel through the first 30 points, tied 15-15 before NC State went on a 4-1 run to take a 19-16 advantage. Texas A&M was eventually able to whittle the lead down to 20-19, but the Aggies were unable to reclaim the lead the remainder of the set. A&M's biggest lead of the set was two points on four different occasions, including 11-9 on the latest occasion.
After getting out-hit .242-.368 in the opening set, the Aggies responded to hold a .362-.170 edge in hitting percentage for the last three sets.
The Aggies came swarming back in the second set, earning the 25-12 decision. After going without a block in the first set, Texas A&M tallied seven in the second, including a solo and five assists by Miller. The set was tied at 4-4 before the Aggies created separation with a 9-2 run, staking claim to a 13-6 edge. North Carolina State could draw no closer than six points, and the Texas A&M lead first ballooned to 13 points at 22-9.
In the third set, Texas A&M gained the momentum following a Wolfpack service error and three consecutive kills by Kastmo to break a 4-4 tie and grab a 9-5 edge.
North Carolina State worked back into the third set to tie it at 11-11 but couldn't wrestle the lead from the Aggies. Three kills apiece by Miller and Shelby Sullivan sparked a 10-5 run for the Maroon and White as they claimed a 21-16 lead. The Wolfpack would not go away quietly and knotted the game at 22-22 with a block by Megan Cyr. Miller gave A&M the edge with a kill, and an attack error by NC State's Brie Merriwether gave A&M breathing room at 24-22. Dariyan Hopper cut the lead to one with a kill, but Sullivan's attack found the floor for the set-clinching point and the 25-23 decision.
The fourth set was tightly contested through the first two-thirds of action with the score tied 11 times, including the last time at 16-16. A kill by Mellinger, two kills by Kastmo and a service ace by Mellinger gave A&M a 20-17 edge, and the Aggies would coast to the five-point decision capped off by a service ace by Heather Reynolds for match point.
The loss ended North Carolina State's season with a 22-10 mark.
The Aggies improved to 24-19 all-time at the NCAA Championship, including a 22-15 mark under head coach Laurie Corbelli.