Young UNC volleyball squad beats Maryland
Youth played opposing roles for the North Carolina volleyball team in its 3-0 win against Maryland on Thursday night.
True freshman Cameron Van Noy had an impressive match after breaking into the starting lineup in recent weeks.
But it was UNC’s youth that allowed the Terrapins to mount comebacks in the later sets.
“It’s a learning process,” coach Joe Sagula said. “Young people have to learn how to get better, how to prepare, and this is the part of the season where you have to really make an effort to be focused.”
UNC (18-5,10-2 ACC) maintained its focus and capitalized on Maryland’s 22 total errors with aggressive play at the net to put the Terrapins away in straight sets.
“Our blocking was really good,” Sagula said. “Cameron Van Noy was outstanding. She had nine blocks out of our total 10, which is great.”
Van Noy also contributed eight kills to the Tar Heels’ balanced attack. Sophomore Kayla Berringer and junior Emily McGee slammed home 10 apiece in addition to six kills from Chaniel Nelson.
“We were able to set whoever we wanted thanks to great passing and setting,” McGee said. “We got lots of variety that kept them unable to put the ball away and let us get more kills.”
After trading the first four points of the opening set, UNC broke away from the Terrapins. Maryland called timeout twice, but couldn’t seem to stop the Tar Heel onslaught.
UNC won the set, riding six kills from Berringer and a sturdy .303 hitting percentage to a 25-13 performance.
Although UNC faced a completely revamped Maryland lineup, set two began just as auspiciously as the first had for the Tar Heels.
UNC found itself with a nine-point lead, 16-7, when Maryland called its fourth timeout.
This time, though, the Terrapins left the huddle with newfound composure. Maryland tore off on a 6-1 run, and outscored the Tar Heels 13-9 after that timeout.
“We had mental lapses at times, where we just had a lack of focus,” Sagula said. “We were just playing enough to keep us in it and Maryland took advantage of that and made a good run at us.”
UNC went on to take the second set, 25-20, but not without committing seven errors of its own.
The Terrapins continued to play the Tar Heels close, sticking with them through the beginning of the third set. At the 6-5 mark, though, UNC broke away on a 10-2 run, again stretching its lead 16-7. Here, deja vu set in.
Maryland began to hit with greater accuracy, slowly eating away at UNC’s lead. After pulling off another 6-1 run to close from 21-11 to 22-17, the Terrapins managed to save three match points to shrink the gap to 24-21. Finally, a McGee kill sealed the win for the Tar Heels.
McGee said she doesn’t feel that UNC’s temporary lapses are anything to worry about.
“We’re a really young team and really energetic and always going 100 percent,” she said. “If we’re getting some more exciting kills and having errors, it’s okay. It’s just about how we bounce back after those errors. I think we did a really good job of that tonight.”
Contact the Sports Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.