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Tuesday December 7th

UNC volleyball picks up first ACC win with 3-1 triumph over Wake Forest

Graduate outside hitter Nia Robinson (18) prepares to receive the ball and pass to a teammate in an intense match against Wake Forest at Carmichael Arena on Oct. 8. The Tar Heels defeated the Demon Deacons 3-2.
Buy Photos Graduate outside hitter Nia Robinson (18) prepares to receive the ball and pass to a teammate in an intense match against Wake Forest at Carmichael Arena on Oct. 8. The Tar Heels defeated the Demon Deacons 3-2.

The North Carolina volleyball team (12-4, 1-4 ACC) defeated Wake Forest (10-6, 1-4 ACC), 3-1, on Friday night to break its four-game losing streak.

What happened?

Looking to turn the tide from a rocky start to ACC play, the Tar Heels kept pace with the Deacon Demons to open the match. After a 4-0 run to start, the teams went par-for-par with each other until the end of the set, in which Wake Forest went on a run to close out North Carolina, 25-18.UNC took the momentum in the second set, storming off to a 10-5 lead before a Wake Forest timeout was taken. After the resilient Deacon Demon team came back looking to close the gap, UNC stormed to a 24-20 lead and evened the match by winning the second set, 25-22.Riding off a win in the second set, the Tar Heels got out to a hot start in the third, leading Wake Forest as the set continued to develop. The Tar Heels were able to stay in this position throughout the set and notched their second straight set with a final score of 25-18.The fourth set featured a comeback effort by Wake Forest, as both teams stayed in distant range of each other throughout the set. In the final stretch, the Tar Heels went on a 5-2 point run to clinch a 25-21 victory, giving the team its first conference win of the season.

Who stood out? 

Nia Robinson, the graduate transfer from Northwestern, has continued to be one of UNC’s best players, and has stepped up after the transfer of Destiny Cox this previous offseason. Robinson was able to record 17 kills, which led the team. She also recorded five digs in the match.Mabrey Shaffmaster, a first-year from New Castle, Ind., was just as dominant at the net, notching 16 kills. She also was able to record seven digs to aid UNC’s defensive effort.Meghan Neelon was solid on the floor on both sides of the ball, leading the team with 42 assists. She also led the team with 12 digs and three service aces.

When was it decided?

The match was not decided until the late stretch in the fourth set when UNC put the game away. Though the Tar Heels won three straight sets to get their win, each of the sets was fairly close and was not officially decided until the final point was marked.

Why does it matter?

Before the game, UNC sat at the bottom of the ACC standings with four straight losses. This win should help build their confidence in future matchups and start a climb in the ACC standings as the season finds itself approaching the halfway mark.

When do they play next?

The Tar Heels will face Virginia Tech on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Carmichael Arena.  @igbryant619@dthsports | sports@dailytarheel.com 

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