North Carolina volleyball’s record 1-3 in the Sunshine State

The state of Florida has not been kind to the 2011 North Carolina volleyball team.

With losses at Miami and No. 18 Florida State this weekend, UNC dropped to 1-3 in matchups in the Sunshine State this year and has lost its last three games in the state.

The Tar Heels won just one set in each of this weekend’s matches. The Hurricanes beat them 3-1 on Friday, as did the Seminoles on Sunday.

North Carolina also opened its season in Florida, where the team split its first two matches at the University of Florida’s Active Ankle Challenge. The Tar Heels won their first game against Auburn, then lost to Florida, beginning their current three-game losing streak.

In Friday’s match against Miami, the Tar Heels stayed close in every set but could only win one. They lost the first two sets 25-21, then scraped out a 27-25 win in the third to stay alive before dropping the final set 25-20.

UNC also kept things fairly close against a ranked Seminoles team, but again, it won just a single set. The teams split the first two sets, but Florida State closed out the match with back-to-back 25-21 wins in the third and fourth sets.

The Tar Heels got two excellent matches out of freshman opposite hitter Chaniel Nelson. Nelson finished the Miami match with 20 kills and only two errors on a stellar .529 hitting percentage. She added 19 more kills against six errors for a .325 hitting percentage against the Seminoles.

Junior outside hitter Emily McGee, North Carolina’s top offensive player, was quieter than usual this weekend. She had 19 kills against the Hurricanes but a subpar .186 hitting percentage, and in the Florida State match had 11 kills and hit only .152.

Defensively, UNC got a decent performance from senior libero Kaylie Gibson, who finished the weekend with 35 total digs. McGee also notched 10 digs in each match, giving her a double-double for both.

Even after the losses, the Tar Heels are 11-4 in the ACC, which leaves them tied with Duke for third place in the conference. Duke has the head-to-head edge, having beaten North Carolina in straight sets on Oct. 19.

The Seminoles and Hurricanes are the two teams ahead of UNC in the standings. Florida State has a perfect 15-0 conference record, and Miami is 12-3, one game ahead of the Tar Heels.

UNC will be out of Florida and back in Chapel Hill for two home matches next weekend, then it goes on the road for its last three regular-season games. The NCAA tournament starts on Dec. 1.

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