UNC left little doubt in Sunday’s match, defeating Boston College in three straight sets and only allowing the Eagles to reach 20 points once. Underclassmen carried most of the offensive load for the team, with Austin continuing to stand out for UNC. She led the team with 15 kills.
Austin was aided in her offensive efforts by senior Skylar Wine, who finished the match with eight kills. Wine, who transferred to UNC from Pacific after her sophomore season, is one of only three seniors on a young North Carolina team.
“As a team, we’ve really done well at staying focused,” Wine said. “Everyone has taken their role and taken everything they can into helping this team be successful, and it's working."
In the first two sets, the opponents exchanged leads throughout. In both cases, the Tar Heels' energy led them to pull away for victories, winning 25-17 and 25-16 to take a 2-0 lead going into the third set. With the bench celebrating after points, alumni being honored throughout the game, and the momentum of two straight victories, North Carolina appeared dominant
This energy was best exemplified in the third set, when North Carolina tied the game at 2-2 and never conceded the lead to the Eagles again, taking a 25-20 victory to end the match. More young Tar Heels impressed, with redshirt first-year Lauren Harrison finishing with nine kills for the match and first-year Carly Peck finishing with seven.
“What this team has come from with where we were on Aug. 30, and where we are on almost Oct. 30, two months later, is amazing,” Sagula said. “It’s exciting to see this come together.”
Sagula, the winningest coach in UNC volleyball history, has helped turn the Tar Heels around after posting their first losing season since 2009 last year. After a 1-7 start, it appeared North Carolina would suffer another year of turmoil, but UNC’s young talent has meshed well into the historically successful program and driven the team back to a 10-10 record.
After the third set ended, UNC volleyball alumni filed onto the court to celebrate with the team by singing “Hark the Sound.” Sagula, who is now in his 30th season at UNC, was both proud of the past and excited for the future following Sunday’s match.
“To see the future of our program do that, then to have our alumni in the stands,” Sagula said. “It was kind of surreal.”
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