The Longhorns won the match 3-1, ending the Tar Heel’s 20-match win streak and record-breaking season.Their 29-3 finish is good for the best overall finish in school history.
“This was quite a battle. I think that’s the best way to describe it,” Coach Joe Sagula said. “Just great volleyball. Both teams fighting it out.”
UNC struggled from behind the service line in the first set. The Tar Heels committed four service errors, allowing the Longhorns to take advantage. Texas jumped out to a quick 1-0 match lead by putting up a .235 hitting percentage and slamming down 14 kills in the first set.
But the Tar Heels would not go down without a fight. UNC began the second set with a 5-0 run and used a 6-1 run to close out the set at 25-18, tying the match 1-1 heading into the locker room.
And after Texas claimed the third set to grab a 2-1 lead in the match, the fourth and final set of the match did not disappoint.
Both teams put up 20 kills each. UNC had set point three times and Texas had match point five different times.
“(The fourth set) was definitely intense and that’s what we wanted,” McAdoo said. “If we were going to go down at some time in this tournament, we wanted to go down because we were fighting and not go down because we were playing bad.”
For now, feelings of heartbreak and anguish fill the minds of the Tar Heel players.
But Sagula knows what this season has meant for North Carolina volleyball. And he knows the exposure and experience his team received in the tournament will pay off in the future.
“I couldn’t be more proud of how this team has grown and gone has a program,” Sagula said. “One of our missions this year was to become a team that is nationally relevant and I feel like we’ve accomplished that.
“I know it hurts to lose this so close, but you need to be here and you need to experience it. I couldn’t ask anything more from any of these players.”