“I was like, ‘We’re not losing to Duke,’” Scoles said. “That (first set) was a fluke. It’s time to play.”
Scoles came out swinging in the second set, earning two kills, a block assist and serving for three points, including a service ace, in a 7-1 UNC run to open the set, setting the tone for the rest of the match for the Tar Heels.
Fields was solid out of the middle hitter position. She is currently averaging over two blocks per set, which is nearly unheard of in college volleyball, Sagula said. She credits assistant coach Tyler Adams for her early success.
“When I’m in the game, I always look to him on the bench to tell me things, to give me little hints to help me pick up things faster,” Fields said.
With the Cameron Crazies in attendance, there’s always the risk that younger players could succumb to the pressure of the environment. But time and time again Thursday evening, the first-year players stepped up.
Sagula had no worries about their nerves.
“They’ve played at a really high level with their club teams,” Sagula said. “So, I’m not surprised that they’ve been in these situations (under pressure).”
The first-year honors were not limited to the starters. First-year Taylor Borup finished with nine kills and five block assists, contributing to UNC’s 21-6 advantage in total blocks, while fellow first-year Mariah Evans finished with 12 assists.
Fields said the first-years feed off each other when good things happen for them.
“I love the whole team in general, but whenever (the first-years) can be powerful together, it’s awesome,” Fields said.
Sagula was pleased with how well his first-year players are playing thus far, and doesn't think they'll slow down anytime soon.
“You look at (them) and you say, ‘We’re gonna be good,’” Sagula said. “I think that we could have a successful season. And the future for Carolina Volleyball over the next couple of years looks good too, because they’ll all be back.”