After losing to California, the Tar Heels had little time to recover before taking the court against UC Irvine later that night. But that didn't stop UNC from rebounding to put on an impressive performance.
In this match, North Carolina took an early 4-0 lead and managed to maintain a lead for the entire set. First-year Parker Austin notched five kills, and helped secure the set victory for her team, 25-19. That win was the first set the UNC volleyball team had won all season.
The Tar Heels then took an early lead in the second set as well, 9-2. The UNC offense then held on to win the set, 25-20.
With a 2-0 lead, UNC needed to win one more set to take the match. But UC Irvine would not go down without a fight, and stormed back to win the third set, 25-23.
The fourth set was a back-and-forth effort that saw five separate ties.
Late in the set, the teams were knotted at 17 before UNC went on a five-point run, which included two blocks by Destiny Cox and three by Katharine Esterly. UC Irvine responded with a run of its own, but UNC was able to gain a 24-22 lead before a block from Skyy Howard secured the win.
Parker finished with 22 kills, while Cox had 14. The 3-1 win over the Anteaters was UNC's first win of the season, and head coach Joe Sagula’s 600th win at North Carolina.
On Saturday, it took five sets to determine the winner of the UNC and UNLV matchup. In the first set, the teams matched each other from the start, playing to a 15-15 tie. But a kill from Skylar Wine gave UNC a lead, one it would not relinquish. The Tar Heels flourished as they won the first set, 25-20.
The momentum carried into the second set for North Carolina. The teams faced another tie, 14-14, but UNC gained the advantage after back-to-back aces by first-year Karenna Wurl.
With the game on the line, UNLV knotted the set back to 20-20 and went on to win, 25-23.
In the third and fourth sets, UNC and UNLV traded points. UNC won the third, 25-17, while UNLV won the fourth 25-18.
In the decisive fifth set, UNC jumped out to an early 5-0 lead, but UNLV kept battling. With the set tied 11-11, UNLV’s Shelby Capllonch and Wine traded kills to tie it up, but it was not enough for North Carolina as UNLV eventually won the set, 15-13.
With their first win finally under their belt, the Tar Heels will travel to Michigan next weekend to take on Miami of Ohio on Friday night.
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