The North Carolina volleyball team (7-10, 4-3 ACC) lost to No. 3 Pittsburgh (18-1, 7-0 ACC) Friday night, 3-0, which ended the Tar Heels’ four-match winning streak.
Pittsburgh started off fast and scored the first three points of the match, and led 3-0. Although UNC was down, they scored two straight points to cut the Pittsburgh lead, 3-2. The Tar Heels battled to tie the match, 7-7. In response, the Panthers scored three straight points to take the lead, 10-7.
Then the Tar Heels scored four straight points to take their first lead of the match the match, 11-10. The four-point scoring run included a kill by Lauren Harrison and a block by Destiny Cox. With the Tar Heels leading, Pittsburgh took a time out.
When play resumed, the Panthers eventually retook the lead, 13-12. Both teams traded points until the score was tied, 16-16. The Panthers responded with four straight points to go up 20-16. Once Pittsburgh gained that lead, UNC battled to cut the lead to 23-22 late in the first set, But Pittsburgh scored two straight points to secure the set victory, 25-22.
In the second set, UNC got to a fast start. The set opened with a kill from Aristea Tontai, and then three more points to lead 4-0. The Panthers responded scoring six of the next seven points and taking the lead, 6-5, over the Tar Heels. After trading points, a block by Skyy Howard and Carly Peck tied the score 7-7. In response, the Panthers scored four straight points to lead, 11-7. Pittsburgh maintained its lead, and cruised to a set victory, 25-15. With the win, Pittsburgh took a 2-0 set lead. In the second set, UNC made three service errors and had a .033 hitting percentage.
In the third set, the Panthers took an early lead, 2-0. Down by two, Harrison put her team on the board with a kill, 2-1. Both teams traded points and Pittsburgh lead, 4-2. Then the Panthers scored four straight points to take the lead, 8-2. The Panthers scored five of the next eight points to lead, 13-5. Pittsburgh controlled the set and led 20-15 late, but UNC wouldn't go down without a fight.
The Tar Heels scored to cut their deficit to 22-16. Then, North Carolina cut the deficit even further, they went on a five point scoring run and cut the Pittsburgh lead to one, 23-22. Even though UNC battled Pittsburgh late, the Panthers won the set victory, 25-23.
Who stood out?
Tontai stood out for the Tar Heels with .364 hitting percentage and scoring six kills. In addition, Tontai led the team in many offensive categories against Pittsburgh, she led the team in points scored with 11.5, in total blocks with five and service aces with three.
When was it decided?
After the Tar Heels lost the second set, 25-15, the team could not over power Pittsburgh. North Carolina The match was decided in the third set after the Panthers took an 20-13 lead. Although the Tar Heels battled the Panthers to cut the lead to one, 23-22. Pittsburgh went on to score two straight points to win the set and the match. Throughout the match, UNC had a combined nine service errors, and 19 attack errors, while Pittsburgh posted eight service errors and 14 attack errors.
Why does it matter?
With this loss, the Tar Heels four match winning streak ended, and the team lost their first match in the month of October. With 11 ACC matches left in the season, North Carolina’s record is now 4-3 in conference play.
When do they play next?
The Tar Heels will travel to Charlottesville, VA. and play Virginia on Sunday at 1 p.m.
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