Andrew again impressed with her performance in a 3-2 loss at home to the Italian Junior National Team in an exhibition match on Monday.
She led the team with 16 kills in a match that went the full five sets.
“Leigh Andrew was the workhorse,” Coach Joe Sagula said. “She was outstanding, I thought, all the way around.”
Despite Andrew’s effort, the Tar Heels dropped another match this season. They started the season ranked No. 7 but have since fallen to 1-4. Sagula said the team has hurt itself the most during its streak of three-straight losses, including losses to Wisconsin and Minnesota this past weekend.
“We just beat ourselves. We find every way possible to lose,” Sagula said.
Andrew, though, has emerged as the most consistent player through the team’s struggles, leading the team in kills at the Women of Troy Baden Invitational in Los Angeles to start the season. She paced the Tar Heels to a dominant 25-13 third-set performance on Monday after Italy controlled the first two sets.
She also helped the Tar Heels remain within striking distance of the Italians in the fourth set, including a set-point winner to close out the marathon set 36-34.
Sagula said he saw a difference in Andrew’s and the rest of the team’s play in the fourth set.
“I think that (fourth set) was something that really showed the character of everyone on the team,” Andrew said. “From the people on the bench, from the people on the court, everyone’s in it.”
Sagula held Andrew out of the deciding fifth set to get more players in the game. Despite the loss, Andrew said she sees a number of positives in North Carolina’s performance.
“Obviously, we haven’t been getting the wins that we want but we’ve been learning and we’ve been progressing in what we haven’t been successful at,” Andrew said.
“Today was a good day to put some of those things together and be able to see it and see some success on the court.”
Senior setter Jordyn Schnabl says the Tar Heels benefitted from facing an elite team and could carry over their success going forward.
“I feel good about (Monday’s) match against the Italian team regardless of the outcome,” she said. “I think we played very well, and we definitely got better from our previous matches.”
Andrew said the experience the Tar Heels gained in this exhibition game will serve them well in the future. The Tar Heels play No. 3 Stanford on Thursday and will need a few more bright spots to pull out a victory.
“We don’t like to lose and that’s something that we’re not accepting,” Andrew said.