Current Date: Sat, 08 Mar 2014 00:47:14 -0500
The No. 24 North Carolina volleyball team couldn’t have asked for a more promising start to the season.
The Tar Heels (3-0) defeated Notre Dame, San Francisco and Middle Tennessee State this weekend to win the Blue Raider Bash tournament in Murfreesboro, Tenn.
North Carolina swept both Notre Dame and Middle Tennessee and dropped just one set to San Francisco.
USF won the first set Saturday morning, but the Tar Heels rallied to overcome a 1-4 deficit in the second set and take the match in four games.
Sophomore outside hitter Leigh Andrew said the team utilized San Francisco’s errors and elements of the game they could control to pull out the win.
“We struggled at passing in the beginning and we recognized that so we tried to capitalize on other areas of the game,” Andrew said.
Andrew was named the MVP of the Blue Raider Bash and was one of three Tar Heels named to the all-tournament team.
Coach Joe Sagula said all of his team’s hitters were equally effective.
“At the end of the weekend, looking at the three matches combined, all of our six hitters – the two outside hitters and the four middle hitters – all were within a couple of kills of each other for totals over the weekend, which is phenomenal,” Sagula said.
“It shows how balanced we were.”
The Tar Heels totaled 158 kills over the weekend, hitting a weekend-high .303 against Middle Tennessee Saturday night.
Senior outside hitter Kayla Berringer said that kind of balance makes North Carolina a hard team to defend against.
“We can go to anyone in any situation knowing that they can put the ball away,” Berringer said.
“I think that for another team, it makes it hard for our offense to be predictable if they can go to any player at any time.”
Berringer finished the weekend with 29 kills, just one behind Andrew’s 30 kills.
That offensive firepower makes Andrew confident in her team’s season.
“I think it’s a great way to start our season: having that under our belt and knowing our potential and that we haven’t even reached our maximum yet.”