BY Ben Coley
UNC volleyball falls to Florida State, drops first October match
Entering Friday's match, both the North Carolina volleyball team and No. 18 Florida State were undefeated in October.
But on Friday in Carmichael Arena, UNC blinked first. The Tar Heels (8-8, 5-2 ACC) fell to the Seminoles in five sets (25-20, 22-25, 18-25, 25-21, 15-10). The match broke UNC's four-game winning streak to open the month.
The Seminoles (14-4, 7-0 ACC) won a close first set that saw seven ties and four lead changes. With the score tied at 15, Florida State used a 10-5 run to push past the Tar Heels.
But neither team hit the ball well in the opening set. UNC managed just a .143 hitting percentage and had six attack errors, while Florida State had a .133 hitting percentage and nine errors.
Late in the second set, the Seminoles held a 22-17 lead, but UNC went on an 8-0 run to tie the match at a set apiece. Senior Paige Neuenfeldt and redshirt sophomore Taylor Fricano had two kills each during the run, accounting for four of the Tar Heels' 18 kills in the set.
UNC then took a 2-1 lead in the match with the help of three kills each from Fricano and Neuenfeldt in the third set. Florida State held an early 6-3 lead, but the Tar Heels tied the set at 6 and never trailed the rest of the set.
The Seminoles responded with a victory in the fourth set, slamming 17 kills in the process.
And in the tiebreaker set, Florida State notched a game-high .346 hitting percentage to take the match.
“At the end, I wanted us to be even better. And I wanted us to make some more aggressive plays when it was close. But I think we shied back a little bit and gave Florida State the advantage.” -— Coach Joe Sagula on his team's approach in the loss.
Fricano notched a .205 hitting percentage and led all players with a career-high 15 kills on Friday. She now has 90 kills on the season.
Three numbers that matter
2: Five-set matches the Tar Heels have lost at home this season.
18: Total team blocks registered by the Seminoles in the game, barely edging UNC’s 16.5 blocks.
0: Attack errors for Florida State in the tiebreaker set, which it claimed by five points.
UNC will host Miami at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
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