Down 1-0 in the match, miscues were hurting the Tar Heels. Miscommunication and service errors caused them to go down 21-16 in the second set. Every time North Carolina got some momentum, the Yellow Jackets answered.
UNC did its best to cut into the lead, but another attack error gave Georgia Tech a 25-18 win and 2-0 lead in the match.
The Tar Heels found new energy in the third set, however. After quickly jumping out to a 5-1 lead, the crowd got behind the team. All of sudden North Carolina looked unstoppable, and it cruised to a 25-14 win in the third set.
The fourth set was more of the same from North Carolina. With the score at 11-8, the Tar Heels began to take control. A powerful 8-0 run gave put them in the driver’s seat in both the set and the match. Despite a late rally by the Yellow Jackets, UNC clinched the fourth set 25-15.
In a game that was tight the entire way, it was only right that the final frame was as well.
North Carolina did not have their ideal start, with two attack errors making it 0-2. But this team was coming from behind the entire game.
Tied 4-4, the Tar Heels saw an opportunity and took it. They scored four straight to go up 8-4 as the teams switched sides. The Yellow Jackets refused to give up, but North Carolina had too much firepower.
A ferocious kill by first-year Julia Scoles put the exclamation point on an incredible comeback effort for UNC, sealing the fifth and final set 15-8.
Who stood out?
Redshirt sophomore Taylor Leath continued her great form, bagging a match-high 17 kills. She also added five digs and three blocks to her tally.
Scoles has a knack for making the big plays, and she did tonight as well. Although she didn’t get off to a hot start, she finished with 13 kills, six digs and four blocks.
Redshirt senior Taylor Treacy led all players with nine blocks on the night, and was a key energy player for North Carolina all game. She also added five kills.
When was it decided?
The Tar Heels rode the momentum of two straight set wins into the fifth, but it wasn’t over yet.
Two quick attack errors put them in a hole early in the winner-take-all set. But UNC pushed and tied the score at 4-4, and they never looked back.
Leath sparked a 6-0 run that gave the team a lead that was too much for Georgia Tech. And what Leath started, Julia Scoles finished. The pair combined for eight kills in the last set, including a game-winning bullet by Scoles.
Why does it matter?
Georgia Tech is very good squad, and it came into Saturday night’s game tied for third place in the ACC.
With only four games left on the conference schedule, North Carolina only holds a one and a half game lead in the ACC. Duke (19-6, 13-2 ACC) is nipping at the heels of UNC, so every game is important for the Tar Heels from here on out.
Where do they play next?
Tar Heels will play the third of a six game home stand as they take on N.C. State next Wednesday at 6 p.m.