UNC volleyball beats Virginia, wins fourth consecutive match
The North Carolina volleyball team is no longer searching for the turning point in its season — it has found it.
In Friday's match against Virginia, UNC clinched its fourth consecutive win in the past week, sweeping the Cavaliers 3-0 (25-22, 25-20, 25-19) at Carmichael Arena.
After entering ACC play with a 3-6 record, the Tar Heels' four-game winning streak has pushed them in the right direction. With Friday's win, UNC (8-7, 5-1 ACC) has a winning record for the first time this season.
“I thought this was a really good win for us,” said senior Paige Neuenfeldt. “For us to get a 3-0 sweep of them at home was really awesome and kept our confidence rolling.”
Although North Carolina had an inconsistent start to its season, this week’s victories have been the turning point the Tar Heels have been longing for.
“It’s very deceiving. I told the team to win 3-0 looks easy,” Coach Joe Sagula said. “It’s not easy. To win is really hard and if we’re making it look easy it’s because we’re working really hard.”
Led by Neuenfeldt's 12 kills and six blocks on Friday, UNC had five players record at least eight kills and hit .375 or better.
The Tar Heels seized a 9-5 lead in the first set before the Cavaliers (11-5, 5-2 ACC) scored four straight points to tie the match. UVa. ultimately obtained a 21-17 lead before a kill by Victoria McPherson ignited a 7-0 run for UNC, which won the set 25-22.
In the second set, North Carolina marched out to a 23-14 lead. The Cavaliers went on a 6-1 run, but a kill by Taylor Fricano clinched a 25-20 win for the Tar Heels.
Both teams traded points to open the third set, but UNC became the first team to score back-to-back points after an attack error by Alex Thorson handed North Carolina an 8-6 lead. The Tar Heels maintained their lead the rest of the way and won the final set 25-19.
“I think it’s a confidence booster since we got off to a slow start.” — Redshirt junior Taylor Treacy on UNC's winning streak.
Redshirt first-year Taylor Leath led all players with a .500 hitting percentage while posting eight kills on Friday.
Three numbers that matter
.340: The Tar Heels posted a .340 hitting percentage on Friday, while the Cavaliers managed a .211 hitting percentage.
13: Junior defensive specialist Sheila Doyle led all players with 13 digs on Friday.
2,556: Days since UNC's previous loss to UVa.
UNC hosts Florida State at 6 p.m. next Friday in Carmichael Arena.
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