The UNC volleyball team has been struggling to find consistent playmakers since a stellar 2016 season that saw it go 29-4. The Tar Heels are looking for a fresh start after going 22-33 over the past two seasons, including a disappointing record of 8-19 last year.
A lack of chemistry could be the reason UNC hasn't found a winning formula recently. The 2018 team featured seven first-years and four transfers.
Timing is a key component of successful volleyball, and it can take hundreds of hours of practice before a team is able to move in sync. Another year of working together can only help last year's newcomers and returning players in their effort to grow as a team.
It doesn't hurt that several of those young players have already shown they could be big-time contributors in their first season in Chapel Hill. First-year Destiny Coxled the team in kills last year and looks to build on her successful rookie season. Skylar Wine, a transfer from Pacific University, quickly acclimated to her new team last season and finished second on the team with 233 kills.
The Tar Heels also return Mia Fradenburg, who should provide veteran leadership along with continuing stellar defensive play.
Fradenburg will play a significant role in mentoring UNC's freshest crop of players. The Tar Heels have six players who will be donning Carolina Blue for the first time, and they are already showing out.
Redshirt first-year Lauren Harrison is poised to be an instant-impact player based on her dominant showing in the Blue and White scrimmage. She led all players in kills with 18. Her performance should come as no surprise considering she was Georgia's two-time 4A State Player of the Year, and came in as the No. 22 ranked player on PrepVolleyball.com's list of Senior Aces.
First-year Parker Austin already looks like a contributor after notching 13 kills of her own during the scrimmage. The Canadian-born outside hitter was a three-time metro Edmonton all-star during her time in high school.
The UNC volleyball team hasn't had a winning season since 2016. With the addition of new players, the Tar Heels aim to make a return to form.
Austin also showed out on the defensive side, and led her team with five blocks in the fourth set alone. Fellow first-year Skyy Howard displayed a nose for the ball and notched three blocks of her own in the set.
Head coach Joe Sagula should be excited that several of his newcomers are already succeeding in practice against their older and more experienced teammates.