“I’ve got to keep your head up when you’re playing against good teams and you know they’re going to challenge you,” said head coach Joe Sagula.
“Now, when we put the schedule together, we certainly didn’t think we were going to go 0-4.”
It’s not the end of the world to lose to one of these teams, but the fact that UNC didn’t pick up a set against any of those three teams is a tough pill to swallow.
North Carolina is fortunate that none of these were conferences matches, so the chances for the Tar Heels repeating as ACC champions are not necessarily statistically hampered.
A large part of these losses have come with the fact that UNC has not been able to grab any momentum. The Tar Heels have dropped a number of close sets, especially early in matches, that have acted as haymakers.
Against Auburn, the score was tied 23-23 in the first set, but the Tigers prevailed. A similar situation presented itself the very next set with the score tied 22-22, but again, UNC could not find a way to close.
There is no doubt that a major issue for North Carolina has been the lack of a consistent rotation. Julia Scoles — who is still dealing with concussion symptoms — didn’t travel with the team this week. Coach Sagula said that he has been trying to fill the void with different rotations, but a myriad of injuries has made it difficult to practice.
Not so bleak
If there is any time to have a bad run, it’s at the beginning of the season.
The team got outperformed this weekend, but there was a switch between game one and game two. After going down 2-0 against Florida, the team really dug in and fought. This is something that wasn’t really shown in UNC’s first three losses. Not to say there was a lack of effort before, but there a definite spark.
“We made plays at the end of the set that we hadn’t done before,” said Sagula.
“We didn’t give in and we didn’t give up, and that’s what I was excited about.”
This a tough start for team that is expected to accomplish a lot this season, but considering everything, it seems like North Carolina’s best volleyball is ahead of them.