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North Carolina A&T grabs history with volleyball tourney berth
Aggies earn first NCAA postseason opportunity
 
Published Wednesday, April 7, 2021 10:00 am
by Brian Holloway

NORTH CAROLINA A&T ATHLETICS
North Carolina A&T won its first MEAC volleyball championship, and with it a berth in the NCAA tournament, where the Aggies  (11-1) will face Conference USA runner-up Rice (16-5) in the first round on April 14 in Omaha, Nebraska.

GREENSBORO – North Carolina A&T’s volleyball is about to experience something no other team in the school’s history has.


They are headed to the NCAA tournament.


The Aggies (11-1, 8-0 MEAC) will play Rice in the first round in Omaha, Nebraska, where the entire tournament will be held. The Aggies and the Owls will square off April 14 on ESPN3 at 10:30 p.m. 


“We are so excited to represent North Carolina A&T and the MEAC in the NCAA tournament,” A&T coach Hal Clifton said. “This is the result of years of hard work from both past and present. This is such a deserving group of young ladies. The amount of work they put in starting last fall amid the pandemic has been incredible.”


A&T, which is leaving the MEAC in June, won their first conference tournament. The Aggies will be making their second postseason bid in school history after earning an at-large bid to the National Invitational Volleyball Championship last season in Atlanta.


They lost their first-round matchup to Troy.


The Aggies, who have posted a 55-42 (.567) record the last four seasons, are 34-8 (.810) against MEAC teams during the regular season during that span, which includes two southern division titles and a conference championship. They’ve posted at least a .500 winning percentage each season.


Senior setter Edie Brewer, the two-time MEAC player of the year, ranks fourth in the MEAC in assists per set (6.83) and second in service aces per set (0.62). Brewer also ranks eighth in digs per set (2.60). She recorded her ninth career triple-double on April 2 in the Aggies’ five-set win over Delaware State in the MEAC semifinals.


Brewer, a two-time first-team all-MEAC pick, was the 2021 tournament most outstanding player after recording 58 assists, 23 kills and 26 digs in two matches.


First-team all-MEAC junior hitter Fatimah Shabazz leads the league with 3.83 kills per set and ranks third with a .359 hitting percentage. Junior middle blocker Shaylynn Hall leads the MEAC with 1.20 blocks per set and is fourth with a .356 hitting percentage.


Rice (16-5) went 12-0 in the western division of Conference USA and beat No. 2 Texas in five sets for their biggest win of the season. The Owls also took No. 6 Baylor to five sets before losing. Rice won the first two games of the C-USA tournament before losing to No. 19 Western Kentucky in the championship match 3-1. 


Nicole Lennon leads the Owls with 4.29 kills per set. Anota Adekunle averages 2.75 kills per set. Setter Carly Graham averages 10.44 assists per set, and Nia McCardell is the leader in digs per set (3.37).


Satasha Kostelecky leads Rice at the net with 0.91 blocks per set.

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