After Saturday’s match against 16th-seeded Creighton, tears began to stream down the faces of the North Carolina volleyball players.
Faces turned bright red and cheeks became puffy.
In a quick four-set match (32-30, 18-25, 18-25, 14-25) the Blue Jays (27-8) not only ended the Tar Heels' (21-10) season, but also ended the collegiate careers of five UNC seniors — middle hitters Paige Neuenfeldt and Victoria McPherson, setter Jordyn Schnabl, outside hitter Leigh Andrew and defensive specialist Heather Gearhart.
“We knew it was going to be close,” Coach Joe Sagula said. “We unfortunately got a little out of rhythm and out of sync in the third and the fourth set — kind of uncharacteristic of us. (Creighton) was able to be more efficient offensively.”
The Tar Heels began the game with momentum. UNC had a .300 hitting percentage and just three attack errors in the opening set. But as soon as the next set began, Creighton snatched the energy in Carmichael Arena and refused to let go.