In the second round of the NCAA tournament, the North Carolina volleyball team fell to the 16th-seeded Creighton Blue Jays in four sets (32-30, 18-25, 18-25, 14-25).
The Tar Heels (21-10) used a .300 hitting percentage and kills from seven different players to take a close opening set. UNC notched 18 kills, while Creighton (27-8) had 23.
The difference in the first set was errors – UNC had just three attack errors and one service error, while Creighton had nine attack errors and five service errors. There were 11 ties and five lead changes in the set.
The Blue Jays controlled most of the second set. UNC held a 4-2 edge early in the set, but Creighton tied the score and never gave up the lead beyond that point, increasing its advantage to as many as nine points.
Similar to that of Creighton in the opening set, the Tar Heels became sloppy — the team had nine attack errors and just a .100 hitting percentage in the second set.
In the third set, the Blue Jays continued to maintain control — Creighton had a .438 hitting percentage and only one attack error. The Tar Heels managed just a .175 hitting percentage. UNC never led by more than one point in the third set.
With the Creighton leading 15-10 in the fourth set, the Blue Jays used a dominating 10-4 run to win the match. The Blue Jays had 16 kills in the final set, while the Tar Heels had just eight.
“Winning is hard. Winning is really hard to do. And we talk about how when you win a lot, you might take it for granted. We’ve told our freshmen, you don’t get spoiled. Success comes because of hard work and this is what this group established.” — Coach Joe Sagula recapping the 2015 season.
Creighton first-year Jaali Winters had 21 kills and a .260 hitting percentage in the match. She also led Creighton with 21 digs. No Tar Heel had more than 12 kills.
Three numbers that matter
5: Five UNC seniors will be graduating this year — Paige Neuenfeldt, Victoria McPherson, Jordyn Schnabl, Heather Gearhart and Leigh Andrew.
.438: The Blue Jays had a .438 hitting percentage in the third set, the highest for any team in the match.
4: UNC lost four home games this season season. During the 2013 and 2014 seasons, the team went undefeated at home.
With the loss to Creighton, the Tar Heels were eliminated from the NCAA Tournament.
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