Tar Heels' volleyball finds success in Virginia

When the North Carolina volleyball team traveled to Blacksburg, Va., last season to play Virginia Tech, the Tar Heels fell 3-1.

But when the two teams faced off Sunday, the result was much different.

It was kill after kill for UNC (15-4, 6-4 ACC) this time, and the Tar Heels swept the Hokies (11-8, 4-5 ACC) 3-0.

“I think a lot of it was just coming out with a vengeance,” sophomore Lauren Adkins said of the team’s win.

Adkins finished the match with 15 kills and five digs, and fellow sophomore Cameron Van Noy added 11 kills with a .450 hitting percentage.

Van Noy said the sophomores’ impact was a surprise to the Hokies.

“They had scouted Emily (McGee) really hard, and I guess they hadn’t scouted me or Lauren, because we’re not really in the regular rotation,” she said. “So it gave us an opportunity to give them something unexpected and score points that they weren’t ready for.”

After winning the first two sets — both by a score of 25-22 —North Carolina closed out the match with a quick win in the third.

The Tar Heels beat the Hokies 25-14, ending the match on a kill from Adkins.

“They did a good job blocking everyone,” Adkins said. “But I guess just being front row with Paige (Neuenfeldt) and Chaniel (Nelson), I had a lot of open opportunities.”

But two days earlier, UNC wasn’t as dominant.

The Tar Heels squeezed out a 3-2 win against Virginia on Friday, a match in which coach Joe Sagula said the Cavaliers outperformed his team statistically.

“The first and the fifth game we played fairly well, but we weren’t sharp,” Sagula said. “I just felt like they outplayed us, and we were very lucky to get out of there with a win.”

UNC started strong, though, winning the first set 25-18 before falling 25-21 in the second.

And the back-and-forth nature of the match continued as the Tar Heels took the third set 26-24 and the Cavaliers won the fourth 25-17.

But when Jordyn Schnabl won the match on a service ace in the fifth set, UNC denied Virginia its first ACC win of the season.

As the win came in a less-than-ideal fashion, Sagula made some lineup changes — namely, inserting Adkins and Van Noy into the starting lineup.

“We re-evaluated a couple of things,” Sagula said. “Knowing how we had to play against Virginia Tech, we made a couple of personnel changes. … We moved some people around a little bit.”

And after the sophomore duo’s performance, the moves seemed to have paid off.

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