North Carolina volleyball stays at No. 20

09/01/2014 9:41 PM

09/01/2014 9:42 PM

After a strong showing in the Illini Classic, North Carolina’s volleyball team remains ranked No. 20 in the first regular season AVCA Division I Coaches Poll.

Carolina is tied with Hawaii with 341 points.

UNC traveled to Champaign, Ill., and finished 2-1 on the weekend, sweeping their first two matches against Southern Illinois and Long Beach State, before falling to then-No. 11 Illinois. Chaniel Nelson and Leigh Andrew were named to the All-Tournament team for Carolina.

The Tar Heels are among four ACC teams in the Top 25: Florida State, No. 8; Duke, No. 19; and Louisville, No. 24.

After earning the tournament title, Illinois moved up to No. 9.

North Carolina continues its preconference schedule with two games in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge at No. 14 Michigan State and at Michigan. The home opener is Sept. 12, at 6:30 p.m. against No. 16 Kentucky.

Track and Field

Duke: Associate Head Coach Shawn Wilbourn has been chosen to speak at the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Annual Convention later this year in Phoenix, Ariz.. The convention will feature top coaches from across the nation presenting to high school coaches and other USTFCCCA members.

Wilbourn, who enters his seventh season with the Blue Devils, specializes in coaching multi-event athletes, pole vaulters, sprinters and hurdlers. He has helped his student-athletes produce plenty of success during his tenure at Duke, highlighted by two-time heptathlon national champion Curtis Beach. In addition to Beach’s two titles, Wilbourn has coached 11 All-Americans, eight ACC Champions and 27 All-ACC honorees. During his first six years, a combined 27 school records were set by his student-athletes.

Women’s soccer

N.C. State: The Wolfpack concluded its first road trip of the season with a hard-fought 2-1 loss at Maryland on Sunday evening.

The match at Ludwig Field was delayed nearly two hours due to severe weather in the College Park area.

With the Wolfpack (1-3-0) trailing 1-0, freshman Kayla Saager scored the second goal of her young career to pull the match level in the 48th minute. State then fell behind in the 52nd minute following a Terrapin corner kick and despite an intense late offensive effort, which included a Brittany Stanko goal that was called back for offside.

“I’m very proud of this performance but disappointed with the loss,” coach Tim Santoro said. “I thought we were really competitive tonight. That’s what we were looking for, was to be competitive after Friday’s match. We achieved that. By the second half, I felt as though we were the better team and gave ourselves a chance to win.

“Hopefully we can build off that and what we saw today can be our consistent performance.”

Maryland delivered the breakthrough in the 37th minute to take a 1-0 advantage. A loose ball in the penalty area was pounced upon by Natasha Ntone-Kouo, who was able to poke it past the scrambling State defense to take the first-half lead.

The Pack stepped up its pressure over the latter stages of the first half, possessing the ball for sustained amounts of time and pinning the Terrapins (2-2-0) back in their own defensive end of the field. State recorded three shots in the final five minutes of the opening half.

N.C. State’s momentum carried over into the second half, equalizing the match in the 48th minute when Saager scored her second goal of the season. Capping off a nice spell of possession, junior Jenna Kalwa whipped it in from the left wing to her teammate. Saager, who took one touch 12 yards out and finished to the far post to pull the sides level.

“We had confidence (to start the second half) because we were the better team at the end of the first half,” Santoro added. “I think the women realized that they belonged on the field and could compete with the opponent.

“We made a little tactical change and adjusted our formation a little bit, but just from the body language and the attitudes walking out of the locker room, I knew we were going to be ready to play (to start the second half).”

State amped up its pressure recording four total shots in the final 12 minutes. With eight seconds remaining, Saager attempted a hopeful shot from 25 yards away which sailed narrowly over the frame of the goal.

N.C. State plays host to Coastal Carolina on Thursday at 7 p.m. from Dail Soccer Field.

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