“Our blocking was phenomenal,” Sagula said. “It’s amazing to be touching the ball that many times, it was great.”
Three of their 24 blocks occurred in the last five points of the match, including a game winning block from sophomore Destiny Cox and junior Aristea Tontai. The Tar Heels opened the match with 10 blocks in the first as they defeated the Hurricanes 25-14.
“It’s pretty unique this year, how many young kids we have but we’ve made it a point of connecting all the time,” Senior Mia Fradenburg said. “And it gets lost in tight situations when all the lights are on, so I’ve been told by the coaches to try and regroup everyone and make it a point to stay in the huddle.”
Who stood out?
Fradenburg leads the team with 99 digs in ACC play this season and has been a key component in the senior leadership this season. She has worked hard to help make sure the entire team is connected, despite the several age gaps.
“I can’t do it without them and they’ve been improving tremendously from match to match,” Fradenurg said. “It’s because they’ve been working really hard in practice and they’re becoming better at reading the game. It’s just so much fun playing defense behind them”
Austin was named ACC Freshman of the Week last week. Austin led the Tar Heels in kills against the Hurricanes with 17 and currently leads the team in kills this season with redshirt first-year Lauren Harrison. Austin played every point against the Hurricanes and earned her own season-high six blocks.
When was it decided?
The Tar Heels dominated two out of the first three sets, and kept it close in the second set which they ultimately lost. On the fourth and final set, UNC and Miami were tied at 23-23 before back-to-back blocks by Cox and Tontai sealed the match.
Why does it matter?
After opening the conference schedule with back-to-back losses, North Carolina has now won three in a row, the longest streak of the season.
“We kept telling them think about where we’re gonna finish not where we started,” Sagula said. “With this type of team being so young we knew we were gonna mature as the season went on, day after day – just be patient and let it happen and this is what’s beginning to happen.”
When do they play next?
North Carolina next plays on Sunday against No. 23 Florida State in Chapel Hill at noon.
@DTHSports | firstname.lastname@example.org