N.C. A&T volleyball starts their season in new conference

After spending only one season in the Big South, the Aggies start their 2022-23 season in their new conference, the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA).

A&T started their season with a five-set thriller against their former conference colleague, the Coppin State Eagles.

The Eagles quickly handled the Aggies in the first set, securing the victory 25-12. The Eagles held the Aggies to a -.040% hitting percentage while Coppin State came out swinging, totaling 13 kills with an astounding .478% hitting percentage.

It was a close one, and A&T put up a much better fight in set two but still fell short to the Eagles. Both teams came away with 12 kills, but the Aggies had seven errors to the Eagles five, which made all the difference in this 25-22 nail bitter.

In proper comeback form, the Aggies stormed back to take the following two sets, leaving the match tied at 2-2 after trailing 0-2. The fifth set was the epitome of neck and neck, but ultimately the Eagles took the dub defeating the Aggies 16-14, handing them their first loss of the 2022-23 season.

In a Press Conference, head coach Hal Clifton had several remarks following the Aggies’ first match of the season.

ā€œI feel like we have opportunities to keep getting better. We fought when we were down two sets. I felt we gave the second set away a little bit towards the end. But the fact is that we came back, and we forced the fifth set and got it to 14 all,” Clifton said.

Despite the loss, there were some bright spots from the match.

Sophomore Hannah Howell recorded a career-high sixteen kills in the match and 17 digs, making this her second career double-double. Sophomore Naiya Sawtelle also had a promising game: she recorded 11 kills and came away with three blocks.

Fortunately for the Aggies, the losing streak was very short-lived, as the A&T came away with the victory in their next three matches.

The Aggies came out on time against Bethune-Cookman University, UNC Greensboro, and its rival North Carolina Central University.

Students here at A&T are thrilled about the future of the volleyball program.

ā€œIā€™m excited about the program. I genuinely feel like volleyball is a very underrated sport! I hope the Aggies can make the NCAA tournament, so I will have a team to root for come December,ā€ junior international business student Moriah Terry said.

Next up for the Aggies is the Wildcat Classic, where the Aggies face off against three schools, all residing in Davidson, North Carolina.

A&T currently sits at 3-1, having not dropped a match following their first loss. Hopefully, the Aggies have what it takes to continue their winning streak!

For more information on N.C. A&T volleyball, visit NCAT Athletics to keep up with dates, scores, and more!