The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Friday January 21st

UNC volleyball haunted by mistakes in Duke loss

The No. 22 Tar Heels somberly trudged back to the visitor’s locker room as the celebration began in Cameron Indoor Stadium.

On their senior day, the Blue Devils (17-13, 12-8 ACC) defeated the Tar Heels in four sets (25-20, 15-25, 19-25, 16-25) and effectively crushed the Tar Heels’ dream of consecutive ACC titles and a 13-game win streak to end the regular season.

In the match, UNC (20-9, 17-3 ACC) only managed a .106 hitting percentage, its lowest mark since Aug. 29 with just a .096 hitting percentage against then-No. 11 BYU.

Coach Joe Sagula could not point to any specific reasons for the error-ridden game. He said the team knew what the Blue Devils were going to do, but the Tar Heels still couldn’t slow them down.

“I would like to find a bright spot on our play today, but there really wasn’t much of any, unfortunately,” he said. “I wish there were one or two players that rose to the occasion, but I just couldn’t say that.

“This was a team effort in poor play.”

As a team, the Tar Heels had 30 attack errors — nine coming in the fourth, decisive set. None of UNC’s hitters had above a .230 hitting percentage. After winning the first set, UNC held the lead only twice in the three remaining sets.

Junior setter Abigail Curry said that Duke was a different team than the one UNC swept in Chapel Hill in early October. The Blue Devils’ energy was higher and they were more aggressive.

Curry gave congratulations for Duke’s play, but she firmly believed the loss was due to malfunctioning on UNC’s side of the net.

“We obviously anticipated that it’d be a great battle — it always is here,” she said. “But everything was just off. There wasn’t one of us that really executed our game plan the way we should have. We couldn’t get the ball to the ground. It was chaotic, and there was a lack of communication. It was clearly all on our end.”

Senior middle hitter Victoria McPherson said there was a lack focus throughout the match. Going forward, she said the Tar Heels will need to learn how to work off each other when they host UNC-Wilmington in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Dec. 4.

“We tend to feed off each other’s negative energy,” she said. “Instead of when one person’s on, the rest will catch fire.

“We need to learn how to channel each other’s focus, energy and intensity.”

@BenColey15

sports@dailytarheel.com



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