Sophomore middle hitter Shelby Bleke wasn’t surprised when the Miami volleyball team did everything in its power to slow Friday’s game. And she knew what North Carolina would have to do to maintain its momentum.
“You fight for that next point after they take that long break,” Bleke said.
That’s just what North Carolina did in the third and final set against Miami (12-3, 2-2 ACC).
With North Carolina up 15-3, the Tar Heels grabbed the next point after a Miami timeout and went on to earn their 10th consecutive win of the season.
North Carolina took point after point to beat Miami in three sets (25-21, 25-17, 25-21), improving its record to 14-4 overall, 5-0 in the ACC. The shutout was the Tar Heels’ ninth of the season.
After trailing behind the Hurricanes early in the first set, the Tar Heels never looked back, taking the set 25-21. North Carolina was anchored by strong blocking at the net by Bleke, who leads the team in blocks for the season.
Senior middle hitter Christine Vaughen also brought high energy to the first set, turning five of seven swings into kills for the Tar Heels.
But the Hurricanes were able to catch the UNC defense asleep at times, capitalizing on two quick dumps by setter Katie Gallagher that hit the floor on the North Carolina side of the net. But they weren’t enough, as two kills by senior outside hitter Courtney Johnston ended the set.
In the second set, the Tar Heels gained momentum on nine Miami attack errors and held the Hurricanes to a weak .023 hitting percentage. Senior outside hitter Suzanne Haydel was a standout in the set, earning nine digs and three kills. North Carolina went on to claim the set 25-17.