The North Carolina volleyball team opened its 2022 season with a late-night matchup at Colorado State on Friday, but lost to the Rams in four sets.
The Tar Heels got off to a slow start in the first set and trailed 8-3. After closing the gap and even taking the lead midway through the set, North Carolina surrendered the lead late and Colorado State pulled away to pick up the 25-20 win. Despite putting up an equal amount of kills as Colorado State, six attack errors contributed to the set loss.
The second set was closely contested for much of the first half, but a 5-0 scoring run gave the Rams some separation and a 22-14 lead. Following a series of back-and-forth play for the remaining points, the Tar Heels fell 25-16. Errors continued to be an issue for North Carolina, as the team recorded four attack errors and four service errors in the second set.
The Tar Heels were able to find more success in their hitting in the third set, improving to .312 percent. Although errors continued to pose a problem, UNC was able to pull off a 25-21 win over the Rams in the third set.
Despite a promising third set, North Carolina had their worst performance of the night in the fourth set. Fifteen attack errors and a -.212 hitting percentage resulted in a 25-17 loss for the Tar Heels.
Who stood out?
Graduate outside hitter Charley Niego led the Tar Heels with 14 kills and 15.5 points. She also made solid defensive contributions with three blocks and eight digs.
First-year Liv Mogridge was aggressive in her collegiate debut, registering a .538 hitting percentage in Friday’s matchup.
When was it decided?
UNC was not off to a promising start on Friday night. After dropping the first two sets, it was clear that Colorado State was in full control.
After pulling off a win in the third set, North Carolina began to stage a comeback, but the team's performance in the fourth and final set ultimately sealed it's fate.
Why does it matter?
North Carolina is coming off of their best season since 2016, with a respectable .700 win percentage and the team's first NCAA Tournament appearance in five years.
The 2021 team also began the season with 11 straight wins, with one of which being a 3-2 victory over the Rams. The loss on Friday night ends the possibility of a season-opening streak reflective of last season.
When do they play next?
The Tar Heels will remain in Colorado this weekend for the Northern Colorado Tournament, where they will face off against UC Santa Barbara and Northern Colorado tomorrow.
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