From then on, UNC went on a scoring run that featured multiple kills by first-year Parker Austin, and North Carolina pulled ahead with a 23-17 lead near the end of the set.
The Tar Heels battled until the end, but fell short after they were overwhelmed by a 9-1 scoring run from the Fighting Irish to give Notre Dame a 2-0 lead in the match. UNC was close enough to push the set past 25 points, with the final score of the set being 26-24.
The Tar Heels struggled to finish strong again in the final set, dropping the last set 20-25.
“We needed to be more aggressive and come up with one good play and it just escaped us,” head coach Joe Sagula said.
Who stood out?
For her highest hitting percentage of the season, redshirt first-year Lauren Harrison hit .455 with 13 kills. Harrison has now had double digit kills in four games this season.
“Harrison really established herself as a go-to, really great offensive hitter,” Sagula said. “She was probably the best hitter of the match, we just need to get her the ball more.”
When was it decided?
North Carolina and Notre Dame were evenly matched, with struggles late in every set being the deciding factor for the night. After they couldn’t finish strong in the second set, it was hard to gain any momentum to have a chance at winning.
“I thought we really played some of our best volleyball of the year. On the road, it was really good,” Sagula said. “It just comes down to making one or two plays at the end of the set. That’s gonna be the difference for us.”
Why does it matter?
UNC has won only one of its six games played outside of Chapel Hill, dropping 16 of 22 sets in those games. The Tar Heels' next two games to continue conference play are both on the road.
“If we can play the way we did on Friday night and follow a simple plan, I think we will give them trouble,” Sagula said.
When do they play next?
On Sunday, North Carolina will stay on the road for its match against Louisville, as the Tar Heels look to notch their first ACC win.
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