North Carolina's volleyball team got a wake-up call Friday night against Wake Forest.
UNC had an unlucky Friday the 13th as the Demon Deacons handed the Tar Heels their first conference loss of the season 3-2 (7-15, 6-15, 15-10, 16-14,
13-15). The loss came in front of a rowdy crowd that was getting psyched for Midnight Madness.
"We need to pick up the little things," said senior defensive specialist Lisa Fryer, who had 17 digs in the match. "It's a mindset. But it's kind of a wake-up."
During its first two games, North Carolina committed unforced errors like they were going out of style.
The Tar Heels never had a lead against the Demon Deacons until the third game of the match. Despite the support of a record crowd of 7,442 fans, UNC's early mistakes proved too much.
"We need to play hard early," UNC coach Joe Sagula said. "We lost our focus. We made so many early mistakes that we dug ourselves in a hole."
The Tar Heels learned their lesson. Two days after the loss, UNC responded by jumping all over Duke in Carmichael Auditorium.
By the time their match against Duke rolled around Sunday, it seemed like the Tar Heels were awake and ready to play.
UNC jumped out to a fast start, beating the Blue Devils by a score of 3-1
(15-8, 15-13, 11-15, 15-8).
"We struggled at winning the first game this year," UNC coach Joe Sagula said. "That was really a simple goal (of ours)."
North Carolina accomplished that goal by taking the first game easily. Then UNC stopped a late 6-0 run by Duke to finish off game two.
But the Tar Heel defense went back to sleep in game three. Up 10-0, UNC watched Duke take the game with a
But the Tar Heel defense ultimately proved too powerful for the Blue Devil hitters. The team recorded 98 digs and 19 blocks.
A rejuvenated North Carolina leaped out to an early 7-0 lead in game four and never looked back.
Senior outside hitter Casey Simpson recorded her eighth double-double of the season with 23 kills and 19 digs.
Junior middle hitter Krista Buchholz recorded a match-high 10 block assists, one solo block and nine kills.
Said Buchholz, "Liz (Feldman) and Lisa made us look pretty good today because they were digging like crazy."
The Sports Editor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.