The North Carolina volleyball team (19-7, 8-7 ACC) defeated the Virginia Tech Hokies (10-17, 1-14 ACC) by a score of 3-1 in Blacksburg on Friday night.
UNC started the match strong, winning the first set 25-13, scoring numerous back to back kills. The team's strong defense in the beginning of the game caused Virginia Tech to make several errors right out of the gate. UNC’s dedication and collaboration was evident with their ability to win several points in a row each time the Hokies were able to snag one.
Virginia Tech bounced back in the second set, winning 25-11. Similar to what the Tar Heels did in the first set, the Hokies were able to capitalize on UNC’s errors early in the game. The Tar Heels’ downfall in this game was due to the score early on. Virginia Tech led the game with a score of 7-1, and by that point, the Hokies had already gained the momentum to secure the second set of the match, tying it up at 1-1.
In a very different turn of events, the Tar Heels were just able to pull away in the very next set, winning a close third one, 25-23. In this nail-biter, UNC was able to win five points in a row to secure a vital match point and take the lead.
The determination and momentum that UNC built up led the Tar Heels to win the match, taking the fourth set by a score of 25-17.
Who stood out?
First-year outside hitter Mabrey Shaffmaster was a huge factor in the Tar Heels' victory over Virginia Tech as she had four spikes and 12 kills throughout the match. The UNC volleyball team will hope the young star keeps shining, due to her constant success and high number of kills so far this season.
Unsurprisingly, graduate outside hitter Nia Robinson has continued to do what she does best, which is dominate. Robinson had four spikes and 16 kills in the match as she continued to lead the squad through the match.
Senior middle hitter Amanda Phegley was a huge part in the win as well, notching four spikes and 11 kills. Her 13 points were crucial in the Tar Heels' effort to pull away from the Hokies.
When was it decided?
After the Tar Heels' loss in the second set, the team began playing like it knew the effort it had put in was not enough to pull off a win on the road. A victory in the extremely close third game made it clear that UNC would not be going down easy, and there was no stopping the UNC volleyball team as they won the fourth set to secure the win.
Why does it matter?
This is the second time this season the Tar Heels have played against Virginia Tech, making that two wins from two tries With multiple teams trying to escape the middle of the ACC standings and rise to the top, every victory counts as the Tar Heels approach the end of the regular season.
When do they play next?
North Carolina will stay on the road as it look to secure its second win of the weekend against Virginia (8-16, 1-13 ACC) on Sunday at 3 p.m.
To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.