The Daily Tar Heel

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Wednesday December 7th

UNC volleyball drops big conference matchup to Miami in four contested sets

Sophomore outside hitter Mabrey Shaffmaster (9) goes to bump the ball over the net. UNC beat Arizona 3-2 at home on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022.
Buy Photos Sophomore outside hitter Mabrey Shaffmaster (9) goes to bump the ball over the net. UNC beat Arizona 3-2 at home on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022.

The North Carolina Volleyball team (9-5, 1-2 ACC) fell to Miami (9-5, 2-1 ACC) in four sets in a Friday night matchup in Carmichael Arena.

What happened?

Both teams started off strong with a quick back and forth, but Miami managed to pull away 9-3 early in the first set. The Hurricanes continued to build up their momentum going with a 4-0 scoring run. Midway through the set, an impressive block from Angela Grieve allowed Miami to continue their dominance, going up 22-11. The Hurricanes soon finished the set, 25-14.

The Tar Heels started off the second set hot, taking a 7-2 lead off a 3-0 scoring run thanks to some excellent passes and receives from first-year libero Maddy May. Miami fought hard to close the deficit, cutting the Tar Heels’ lead down to 15-12. The Tar Heels didn't stop attacking though, enlarging the gap once again with a 21-14 lead. UNC and Miami traded blows until the end, but UNC managed to edge out the set, 25-20.

The third set was a tightly-contested battle with a series of long and tough rallies. The Hurricanes crossed the halfway mark first, then extended their lead 18-13, which forced a timeout from the Tar Heels. Despite the timeout, UNC was unable to regroup and lost the third set 25-20, cemented by a crushing kill from Grieve.

UNC took another early lead in the fourth, 5-3, but Miami quickly equalized at seven points each after an error by the Tar Heels. Both teams vied for control of the match, leading to another equalizer off a kill from Charley Niego that made the score 10-10. The Tar Heels broke the deadlock with an impressive kill from sophomore outside hitter Mabrey Shaffmaster. However, Miami continued to battle and stopped the Tarheels’ 5-point run to make the score 17-15 in the Tar Heels' favor. The fourth set came down to the wire, 21-21, as the Hurricanes were looking to close out the match. Grieve came through with a great kill, closing the set, 25-23.

Who stood out? 

Shaffmaster had another great attacking game for the Tar Heels, racking up 49 attacks and 17 points for the hometown Tar Heels with a .347 kill percentage.

Neigo was a defensive beast, leading both teams with 26 digs. Charley secured back-to-back doubles with that stat line tonight.

When was it decided?

Although the game came down to the wire, the match was swung in Miami's favor after the crucial third set loss. Although the Tar Heels managed to keep it close throughout the final set, the momentum from the third set was unable to be reversed. Head coach Joe Sagula attempted to rally the team and stop the Hurricanes by utilizing his time-outs at key points in the match. Despite that, the Hurricanes were able to edge out the close win.

Why does it matter?

After an important comeback win at Virginia, the team was unable to capitalize against Miami. The Tar Heels must bounce back quickly for an important conference match against the Florida State Seminoles later this weekend.

When do they play next?

The Tar Heels next matchup is Sunday, October 2nd, at 1 p.m. at home against the Florida State Seminoles. 

@dthsports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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