The No. 25 North Carolina volleyball team has made sure that Carmichael Arena is not an easy place for opposing teams to visit this season.
Leading up to their Friday and Saturday matches against Virginia Tech and Virginia, respectively, the Tar Heels (24-5, 15-4 ACC) had defended their home court in all 12 of the matches they’d played there.
And this weekend was no different.
UNC continued its streak of home wins with 3-0 sweeps of both Virginia Tech and Virginia, making their record 14-0 in Carmichael.
“This has been our goal all season,” senior Heather Henry said. “So reaching that, going almost the whole season without a defeat in Carmichael, it’s a great accomplishment.”
To keep their goal of a perfect home record alive, UNC remained strong against a Virginia Tech team (15-14, 8-11)that was looking to play spoiler.
Although they got the win, the Tar Heels were not as in sync as they usually are, freshman Paige Neuenfeldt said.
“It wasn’t our greatest game. We weren’t super clean at times and everything wasn’t gelling exactly how it usually does, “said. “We definitely could’ve been better, and there’s room for improvement.”
But they managed to overcome that uncommon lack of communication and coherence to hold off the Hokies, despite being down by as much as five in the second set, to win the match in the minimum three sets.
“We weren’t as sharp as we wanted to be,” coach Joe Sagula said. “I think we all thought that we’d run away with it, but they stuck with us, so it’s just great to come out with a win.”
The team’s 14th consecutive home victory came on Saturday’s senior night, one of the last times the UNC seniors will be able to play in Carmichael.
Because of that, Henry and fellow senior Emily McGee said their victory against the Cavaliers (9-21, 3-16) held a special significance.
“We’re 14-0 after this match and it’s a really exciting win,” McGee said. “It’s really a special feeling, and to think that I’m only going to have one more game in this building that I have so many memories in is just crazy.”
The senior outside hitter was targeted 23 times and led both teams with 10 kills off those attempts. She also contributed one of UNC’s seven service aces and two of the team’s blocks for a game-high 12.5 points.
“In big matches, when the time comes, Emily always finds a way to get the job done,” Sagula said. “She has all the tools and so much experience — she really kept Virginia on their toes.”
Although the Tar Heels celebrated senior night on Saturday, they will have one more chance to defend their home court this season: Wednesday against N.C. State in the regular-season finale.
“We’re going to come out not only wanting to defend Carmichael but to get that revenge against a really good, scrappy N.C. State team,” McGee said.
Contact the desk editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.