Volleyball shuts down North Carolina A&T in straight sets

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TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- Julia Smagacz led a balanced offensive attack that carried Akron past North Carolina A&T in straight sets to conclude the Indiana State Holiday Inn Classic on Saturday morning.

Akron held off the Aggies, 25-20, 26-24, 25-16, to finish opening weekend with a 2-1 record, while N.C. A&T slides to 0-3.

Smagacz delivered eight kills with only a single error in 15 swings for a .467 hitting percentage on the day. As a team, UA out-hit N.C. A&T, .235 to .081.

Kelsey Wilson posted seven kills for a .294 clip, and the trio of Amanda Bedell, Mary Delich and Anna Wenger chipped in six kills apiece. Wilson also recorded three of UA's nine service aces. The junior has eight aces in the first three matches of the season.

Karley Kusan dished out 20 assists for Akron to go with a team-high eight digs, leading six Zips with six or more digs. UA edged the Aggies on the defensive end, collecting 47 digs to N.C. A&T's 44.

After capturing the first set in decisive fashion, the Zips fell behind by eight points with the score at 18-10 in the second set. The Aggies scored six unanswered points before a kill from Bedell stopped the run. Akron was unable to close the gap however, still trailing by as many as six (23-17) before the rally began.

UA went on to score on nine of the next 10 plays to claim the set and go up 2-0 in the match. The stretch was highlighted by a pair of Delich kills and sealed by a solo block from Akron's only senior.

The Zips carried their momentum on through the break, sprinting out to a 5-0 lead to start the third set. Never trailing, Akron scored three straight points on an NC A&T error and two Wilson kills to clinch the victory.

Akron returns to the court for a single weekday match at Cleveland State on Tuesday, Sept. 2 at 7 p.m. The Zips are set to open their home slate next weekend when they host the Akron Invitational Sept. 5-6. Akron will take on Bryant (12:30 p.m.) and Binghamton (8 p.m.) on Friday, followed by a doubleheader against Drake (3 p.m.) and Austin Peay (8 p.m.) on Saturday.