The No. 6 North Carolina volleyball team defeated Duke in four sets (22-25, 25-17, 25-13, 25-20) to clinch the ACC championship on Wednesday.
The battle of the blues was played in front of a loud, fanatic crowd in Carmichael Arena. The Tar Heels entered the match riding a 57-54 edge in the all-time series against their conference foe, winning four of its last five matches.
The first set was intense and closely-contested. The Tar Heels and Blue Devils battled out long, back-and-forth points as both defenses proved strong in different ways. North Carolina accumulated four total team blocks and Duke garnered 25 digs. The Blue Devils, however, edged out the Tar Heels in kills, 19-14, and they took the first set 25-22 after a Taylor Leath service error.
The second set told a similar narrative, but a different outcome. North Carolina was able to make an early push and keep the Blue Devils down on the scoreboard for most of the set. The Tar Heels high-stepped off the court smiling after they captured the second set, 25-17. Leath ended this set, too; this time, with a kill.
The third and fourth sets were North Carolina’s from the jump. They were dominant at the net and on the scoreboard throughout. Leath finished the match with a team-high 17 kills, 17 digs and 20 points. Taylor Fricano recorded eight kills and 12 points. In the fourth set, the Blue Devils went on a last-second four point run to ignite a comeback, but their efforts proved futile.