Coach Joe Sagula singled out the victory against Georgia Tech as important for the confidence of the team as it enters the second half of the ACC season.
“We feel that this is a really big win for us in a tough place and we’re really excited about this,” said Sagula after Friday's win. “It showed some great character, and I’m extremely proud of them.”
After a day’s rest, the Tar Heels overpowered Clemson en route to a 3-0 win. They controlled each set on their way to the victory. Leath had another prominent performance with 14 kills.
The Tar Heels rested three starters on Sunday. Senior Victoria McPherson, redshirt sophomore Taylor Fricano and senior Jordyn Schnabl did not play. The Tar Heels had to adapt to a 5-1 system, different from their normal 6-2, against Clemson.
Junior Abigail Curry replaced Schnabl’s productivity, accounting for 11 digs and 37 assists in the match. Curry said she felt more pressure in Schnabl’s absence.
“I felt pretty comfortable out there,” Curry said. “There is that added responsibility when she’s not there because she’s a great leader and she brings a lot of energy to the court.”
Leath helped relieve some of the pressure on Curry by contributing 14 kills on 19 attempts.
The Tar Heels will need Leath to be at her best to maintain the team’s momentum in the final half of conference play.
“(Leath is) starting to play beyond being a freshman. Rather than a first-year player, she’s playing with a lot of maturity and that’s something you can’t measure. You just have to keep experiencing and doing.” — Sagula on Leath's performance over the weekend.
Schnabl was scheduled to play against Clemson, but suffered a head injury during warmups before the game, keeping her out of the contest. She passed a concussion test, but Sagula elected to rest her instead. Sagula said she would be good to go in the Tar Heels' next game.
Three numbers that matter
25: Leath tallied 25 combined kills in the Tar Heels' weekend wins against Georgia Tech and Clemson.
86: Against Clemson, Curry accounted for 37 of North Carolina's 43 assists (86 percent).
21: The Tar Heels were helped by 21 Clemson errors on Sunday. Eight of the 21 were service errors.
North Carolina hosts the Louisville Cardinals at 6 p.m. on Friday in Carmichael Arena.