Junior outside hitter Lauren Adkins said part of her team’s problem stems from fatigue.
“Five games are always tough because you’re both physically and mentally tired by the end of it so it takes a toll on you,” she said. “But when we get these opportunities, we need to finish them.”
After taking the first set in both matchups, UNC fell in both second sets, setting up for back-to-back defeats, going 27-25, 21-25, 16-25, 25-17 and 8-15 against the Seminoles, and 25-21, 18-25, 25-19, 22-25, and 10-15 against the Hurricanes.
Against the Seminoles, sophomore Leigh Andrew stepped up to lead the Tar Heels with 15 kills and 12 digs and graduate student Jovana Bjelica stepped up with 14 kills, 12 digs, and six blocks.
Despite the duo’s effort, Florida State posted a school record 28 blocks and had 17 fewer errors than UNC to lead them in the upset.
“I thought we had momentum going into the fifth set and then we completely laid an egg,” Sagula said. “It was disheartening.”
Looking to bounce back against the Hurricanes on Sunday, UNC took a 2-1 lead into the fourth set, but collapsed under 10 attack errors that lead to Miami leveling the match at two before taking a decisive game five 15-10.
“I thought we really found our stride and were playing at a good level,” Sagula said. (We) just made a lot of uncharacteristic errors in the fourth set and in the fifth set, and couldn’t carry that to victory.”
Redshirt freshman Hayley McCorkle tallied 10 kills and registered a .471 hitting percentage in a performance that Sagula called “inspirational.”
Adkins led the Tar Heels with 14 kills as she continues to expand her role on the squad.
Entering the weekend tied for the top spot in the conference, UNC dropped to 20-3 overall and 9-3 in the ACC, good for third place in the conference behind Duke and FSU. .
“We are now ready to fight,” McCorkle said.
“We are determined to be that team that we started off the season as.”