The North Carolina volleyball team (4-6, 1-1 ACC) overcame a two-set deficit to defeat Louisville in a thriller (19-25, 18-25, 25-18, 25-19, 15-12) on Sunday at Carmichael Arena.
For the second straight match, UNC dropped its first two sets before forcing a decisive fifth. The Tar Heels couldn’t complete the comeback in Raleigh against N.C. State on Friday. Today, though, they finished the job.
Outside hitter Taylor Leath led the team with 11 kills and defensive specialist Casey Jacobs had 22 digs as Carolina picked up its first ACC win.
Strong defense was the key to the game, according to head coach Joe Sagula.
“Without question, the best defensive play we’ve had all year,” he said. “I’m very, very proud of them.”
North Carolina turned the match around in the middle of the third set behind redshirt sophomore Sydnye Fields’ nine kills.
“I was just ready when given the opportunity,” Fields said. “We passed well enough to be able to set me on the right. I just went for it.”
The Tar Heels overcame a 4-8 deficit in the final set to win 15-12.
Who stood out?
Leath was a dominant force at the net all day long for the Heels, while Jacobs led the back line.
“Casey played great,” Sagula said. “The defensive players really helped us win this match today, and there’s not many times you can say that.”
When was it decided?
The outcome of the match was very much in question until the end, as the Tar Heels won a close fifth set.
Why does it matter?
For UNC, the conference win was a sigh of relief. Had the Tar Heels dropped the match, they would have fallen to 5-7 and 0-2 in ACC play in a conference which they were unanimously picked to win in the preseason.
Now, Carolina has its first ACC win and some momentum heading into a tough road game.
When do they play next?
The Tar Heels will travel to face Clemson on Friday at 7 p.m.