RALEIGH, North Carolina – Freshman middle blocker Kendall Bender made the most of her first career start collecting eight kills and nine blocks as UNCW topped homestanding NC State, 3-1 (22-25, 25-19, 25-22, 25-23), on Sunday at Reynolds Coliseum.
The Seahawks earned a split of its ACC-opponent weekend with the win and improved to 10-2 while the Wolfpack dropped to 7-5. For UNCW, it was its second win all-time against NCSU in a series that began in 1994.
"Our strong blocking and tough serving were the driving force behind this win." Said UNCW Head Coach Amy Bambenek. "Offensively, NC State did a good job of slowing us down, but our players continued to grind out each point. Kendall Bender had an outstanding complete match and overall this was a great experience for our team as we head into the start of conference play."
Bender, who was making just her third appearance of the young season, finished with a .533 hitting average with those eight kills in 15 attacks with no hitting errors. Sophomore outside hitter Maddy Kline led UNCW offensively with 12 kills while setter Alyssa Desjardins had 21 assists and three of UNCW's eight aces on the afternoon.
Kline also posted a double-double, matching sophomore libero Sydney Alvis with 16 digs.
Joining Bender at the net defensively was junior middle Sydney Brock, also with nine blocks.
NCSU placed three in double figure kills with Julia Brown holding match-high honors with 21. Teni Sopitan and Kaithlyn Kearney added 13 and 12, respectively. The Wolfpack struggled, though, committing 37 hitting errors and combining for a .126 hitting average.
How it happened: UNCW posted a season-high 18 blocks and held NCSU in check as Bender had a career-high and Brock missed matching her career-high of 10, set Friday at Duke. The Seahawks also kept the Wolfpack off balance with eight aces while allowing just one to NCSU.
Notes: UNCW's 18 blocks rank third on its single-season match list, but in 4-set matches, it's a school-record besting the previous mark of 16.5 against James Madison in 2014 … UNCW is 2-2 in Raleigh against NCSU … Eight aces tied a season-high … The Seahawks are 3-3 against the ACC over the last two seasons (Clemson 1-0; Duke 0-2; UNC 1-1, NCSU 1-0) … With the win, UNCW has won at least 10 non-conference matches for the third time in the last four seasons.
Up next: The Seahawks open Colonial Athletic Association play on Sept. 23 with a 7 p.m. start in Hanover Hall.