In front of a full student section, the North Carolina volleyball team (0-1) opened its season with a difficult ACC-Big Ten Challenge matchup against No. 3 Minnesota (1-0) in Carmichael Arena on Friday night. The Gophers won the match in dominating fashion, sweeping the Tar Heels in three sets.
Minnesota set the tone of the match early and silenced the rowdy UNC students, winning the first set 25-16. UNC couldn’t handle the Gophers’ attack as they earned 16 kills to UNC’s nine in the set. The Tar Heels also managed just a .065 hitting percentage.
The second set presented a glimmer of hope for the Tar Heels. Over halfway through the set, UNC held a 18-15 lead and had all of the momentum. Minnesota then called a timeout, and everything changed. The Gophers earned three straight points to tie the set. The two teams then traded points all the way up to a 22-22 score.
Minnesota won the next two points to force set point and make the Tar Heels’ head coach Joe Sagula call a timeout to calm his team. It seemed to work, as UNC won the next two points to make it 24-24, thanks to an errant Minnesota serve and a Destiny Cox block.