The North Carolina volleyball team picked up its first win of the season on Saturday afternoon, sweeping UC Santa Barbara in three sets at the Northern Colorado Tournament.
The first set began as a back-and-forth affair, but USCB then took control to build a 17-13 lead. Shortly after, however, UNC built some momentum.
Trailing 18-16, the Tar Heels racked up seven straight points, including three kills from sophomore outside hitter Mabrey Shaffmaster. From there, Shaffmaster added another kill as UNC took the first set, 25-19.
The Tar Heels carried their strong play into the second set and jumped out to a 9-3 lead before the Gauchos began to settle in. Both teams traded the next several points and USCB clawed back to even the score at 14 apiece.
But much like the first set, UNC found a way to respond. With just a one-point lead, the Tar Heels went on a 6-1 run to build a comfortable 23-16 advantage before closing out the set with another 25-19 victory.
Much like the previous sets, the third set was also closely contested with the score deadlocked at 12. Then, Shaffmaster and the UNC's attackers began to take over and stretched the score to 19-13. Despite two straight points from the UCSB, the Tar Heels regained control and came away with a 25-17 win to clinch the sweep.
Who stood out?
When the Tar Heels needed timely points, they found Shaffmaster, and the sophomore from Indiana delivered. The 2021 ACC Freshman of the Year finished the match with 12 kills and a .348 hitting percentage.