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The Daily Tar Heel

Tar Heels Hold Off Wolfpack Rally

Before the match UNC honored it's three seniors: defensive specialists Liz Feldman and Lisa Fryer and outside hitter Casey Simpson.

Then UNC jumped all over rival N.C. State, taking a 2-0 lead in games.

But the night turned ugly. UNC quickly lost the lead and was forced into a deciding game five against the Wolfpack. But, like it began, Senior Night ended on a positive note as the Tar Heels beat State 3-2 (15-12, 15- 8, 7-15, 14-16, 15-7).

"We can really be good," UNC coach Joe Sagula said. "We just need to learn to keep our intensity up. State did things to get us off our game and make us play awkward."

Feldman, who was one of three Tar Heels with 11 digs, led the defense.

"It's nice to play State at your last home game," Feldman said. "It makes you realize who's the superior school."

UNC took the first two games behind tough serving and consistent blocking, two points Sagula said the team has been stressing. UNC had 18 team blocks compared to State's nine.

But, as in past matches, UNC lost its focus. The number of unforced errors increased, and North Carolina's defense began to weaken. A similar situation happened this weekend when the Tar Heels took the first two games against Duke but were forced into a fifth game.

But it wasn't the Wolfpack's play Tuesday that caused the Tar Heels' mental collapse.

"We thought we were going to beat them easily," Feldman said. "When you play a team like State, it's hard to play at your level. We always end up playing at their level. We just lost our focus."

State ran all over UNC to begin game three, jumping out to a 7-0 lead. The Tar Heels put up a bigger fight in game four but killed themselves with sloppy play.

"We need to be very precise with our passing and hitting," said Simpson, who left with back spasms during the fifth game. "We just weren't for part of the night."

But despite the mix-up in the middle of the match, the Tar Heels pulled out a victory for their seniors.

"I think they've been a really big part of the program for four years," Sagula said. "I'm just excited they can end on a winning note."

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