Tar Heel volleyball utilizes new offensive plan to shut out Boston College

The North Carolina volleyball team swept Boston College 3-0 Friday night, marking its seventh conference shutout of the season.

But a new offensive setup for the Tar Heels (19-5, 11-2) made this shutout different than the rest.

“This is the first time all year that we’ve run a 6-2,” junior outside hitter Heather Henry said. “(The rotation) was just an opportunity, and I took it and went for it given that opportunity.”

Henry claimed six kills using the new offensive opportunities presented.

The 6-2 is a different rotation than what North Carolina has used this season in that there are three hitters in the front at all times instead of just two.

“It gives you more options across the board, and I think it really worked for us tonight,” said junior Tia Gaffen, who had six kills in the match.

“Highlighted by the scores, we were able to get everyone the ball and get (Boston College) on their toes, not really knowing who we were going to set.”

Coming into the match against the Eagles, UNC knew it would look purposefully to the 6-2 to give their opponent something new.

“I think it worked really well because they weren’t expecting us to come out and run a 6-2,” Gaffen said. “It’s a completely different type of offense. The different hitters are running different things. It really helps that they don’t know us as well with this.”

Coach Joe Sagula made the offensive change not only with Boston College in mind; he also wanted to see a successful use of another type of offense to help North Carolina close out its conference play.

“What we decided earlier in the week was that we want to have some different options as we make a run to the end of the season, to do some things that the other teams haven’t seen and to create more offense,” Sagula said.

“And we wanted to change the look, where teams get kind of used to what we’ve been doing.”

The set up requires the team’s setters to play differently, and Sagula believes that each of the positions met the requirements of the new offense effectively.

“What I liked tonight, was that, number one, Cora (Harms, setter) immediately made use of what the major purpose was — getting the ball to Heather,” Sagula said. “We didn’t want her to come in there and be hanging out, and still just setting. We wanted her to come in and take some of the pressure off the left side hitters.”

Even with lightened pressure, Emily McGee and Kayla Berringer had 12 and nine kills, respectively.

“The key thing is that we feel good about our game, and that we’re rested and healthy going into next week,” Sagula said. “And we’ll see what happens. Hopefully we play one of our best matches. It’s going to be really tough.”

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