The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Saturday May 21st

Taylor Fricano emerges as key player for UNC volleyball

To open the game, Fricano jumped on the right side of the net and smacked the ball toward the middle of the court for a kill — point Tar Heels.

In the third set, Fricano got the offense started again, leaping off of her back foot and hitting the ball behind the Hurricane defense — another point for the Tar Heels.

Fricano’s effort helped UNC (9-8, 6-2 ACC) sweep Miami (25-15, 25-21, 25-16) after North Carolina dropped a five-set match versus No.18 Florida State on Friday.

The redshirt sophomore registered six kills against the Hurricanes (12-6, 5-3 ACC), which tied for second on the team. In Friday’s match against the Seminoles, Fricano led the team with a career-high 15 kills.

Fricano said she has been working on increasing her speed, particularly with her arm swing.

“This weekend, something me and Coach (Joe) Sagula have talked about is being aggressive with my approach,” Fricano said. “It seems that I get better swings that way, and make it more dynamic and that just gives me more height to hit it over blockers.”

In the game versus Florida State, Fricano had two blocks and was third on the team with a .205 hitting percentage. On Sunday against the Hurricanes, she posted a .200 hitting percentage and five blocks.

Sagula said Fricano is a young player, still learning the game, and that the key for her is to remain consistent and disciplined. He believes she can play an important role for the team down the stretch.

“She’s got such great potential,” Sagula said. “She just gets better each time she plays.”

“And with 12 matches left in the ACC, I expect her to help dominate, both blocking and hitting. When she gets after it, good things start to happen.”

Senior Victoria McPherson — who led the team with seven kills against Miami — echoed Sagula’s sentiments, adding that Fricano is beginning to come into her own.

“She’s really good when she goes up hard and she’s aggressive,” McPherson said. “So now she understands that when she goes really hard, she can put balls away and become unstoppable.”

For the season, Fricano has 96 kills and averages two kills per set — the fourth highest on the team. Since Hayley McCorkle suffered a season-ending injury on Sept. 18 against Michigan State, Fricano has 69 kills.

Fricano said she needs to improve on finding the correct spots on the court and placing herself in front of the hitter to secure blocks.

She believes her execution this weekend — as well as the team’s performance — bodes well for the rest of the season.

“Even though we lost to Florida State, we knew we were in it,” Fricano said. “It showed the fight that this team has.

“And that will definitely carry over for the rest of the season.”

@BenColey15

sports@dailytarheel.com



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