On Friday, the North Carolina volleyball team lost a non-conference match to Miami (Ohio) by a score of 3-1 in Rochester, Michigan. This loss dropped UNC's record to 1-5 on the season, while Miami (Ohio) improved to 4-3.
Early on, the Tar Heels struggled to get much going against Miami (Ohio). They dropped the first two sets before snagging one win in a 25-22 victory in the third set.
“Overall I’m pretty disappointed, obviously," North Carolina head coach Joe Sagula said. "I thought we had a pretty good week of preparation, but finding ways to sustain a consistent level of play throughout a match is the biggest problem we have right now.”
The final three sets were a different story for UNC. North Carolina came close to winning almost every set, but was unable to finish strong in some of the final moments.
The first set was the largest margin of defeat, with North Carolina dropping the set, 25-19. The second, third and fourth set were all decided by three points or less.
“We’re letting a lot of close ones slip away from us right now,” Sagula said. “I’m hoping that this team continues to learn each week what we need to do, how to finish better and be better after 20 points.”
Who stood out?
A few players for North Carolina had standout performances in Friday's close matchup. On offense, Skyy Howard, Parker Austin and Skylar Wine were the main attackers with 10, 12 and 10 kills, respectively. Aristea Tantai chipped in with eight as well.
“I thought our middle hitting was the best its been all year,” Sagula said. "Combined we hit over .300 with Aristea Tantai and Skyy Howard. They combined for 18 kills on 40 swings and that was great.”
Austin also had 12 digs to go along with her 12 kills, good for a double-double.
“Thats great for a freshman to be able to do that,” Sagula said.
When was it decided?
Miami (Ohio) jumped ahead early with a 2-0 lead and never looked back.
Sagula mentioned how North Carolina’s serve receiving and passing, which featured five service errors in the fourth set, were too inconsistent to bring the Tar Heels back. After all of the inconsistency, the momentum for Miami (Ohio) was too much for UNC to overcome and force its way back into the match.
Why does it matter?
The Tar Heels have shown their potential in the last three games. After not winning a set in their first three matches, North Carolina has won six in its three most recent games.
Despite this loss against Miami (Ohio), UNC is continually improving on its efforts from earlier in the season.
When do they play next?
The North Carolina volleyball team is back in action on Sunday, September 15th where it will face a very strong Michigan State team at 1 p.m. in East Lansing, Michigan.
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