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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC volleyball looks toward improvement as schedule toughens

The team remains undefeated five games into the season, having knocked off then-No. 9 Penn State (2-3) in the season-opening weekend. The Tar Heels’ latest victory was a sweep of TCU in Carmichael Arena — the 1,000th win in program history.

But UNC isn’t focused on its present accomplishments.

“We’ve got to keep working hard and not let the success make us complacent,” Coach Joe Sagula said. “We’re going back to practice on Monday, and we’re working on passing and defense.”

That attitude shows in the team’s youngest players, too.

Julia Scoles was named ACC Freshman of the Week for two consecutive weeks. She only made one error while serving for the Tar Heels on Saturday and had a team-high 14 kills. Scoles has been a fixture on the court in the first two weeks of her collegiate career — but she won’t stop here.

“I’m going to keep trying to work hard in practice to get better every single day that I can,” Scoles said.

Senior co-captain Sheila Doyle said she appreciates the contributions the first-years are making, but she is also focused on improvement.

“Hopefully we’ll keep getting better,” she said. “Obviously we’re a young team, but we’ve gotten some good experience at Penn State. And playing at Cameron (Indoor Stadium) the first two weekends is a huge chance to learn a lot and to experience it all. It’s not going to get any easier from here, so hopefully the veterans will keep taking care of business.”

Doyle had the team’s only ace and nine digs in the match. She was integral in keeping the Tar Heels’ serve alive with a dig in the first set and again in the third.

Sagula said his team needs to continue to get better to compete with upcoming ACC opponents.

North Carolina has started strong. But UNC needs to work hard to continue dominating against the ACC teams it will face in the regular season and postseason play.

And this weekend poses more challenges for the Tar Heels, as they host No. 2 Wisconsin and No. 5 Minnesota in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

As North Carolina takes on tougher opponents, Sagula knows what it will take to continue succeeding.

“We’ve got to just keep coming to practice and working hard,” Sagula said. “The way you do well is you keep doing the things you do well — you keep refining these things — and you work on the things you don’t.”


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