The Daily Tar Heel

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Sunday January 29th

UNC drops third straight match in 3-1 defeat at Wake Forest

UNC sophomore outside hitter Mabrey Shaffmaster (9) spikes the ball during the game against Florida State on Oct. 2, 2022. UNC lost to Florida State 2-3.
Buy Photos UNC sophomore outside hitter Mabrey Shaffmaster (9) spikes the ball during the game against Florida State on Oct. 2, 2022. UNC lost to Florida State 2-3.

The North Carolina volleyball team (9-7, 1-4 ACC) fell 3-1 to Wake Forest (11-5, 3-2 ACC) in a road conference matchup on Friday night. 

What happened?

Wake Forest came aggressive with a 3-0 scoring run, and the Demon Deacons continued to focus their attack through Olivia Franke, who was involved early. The Tar Heels started to regain some momentum thanks to some quality sets by first-year setter Anita Babic and high-level kills from sophomore outside hitter Mabrey Shaffmaster. 

Wake Forest continued to control the early game going on another 3-0 scoring run before the Tar Heels made it 15-10. North Carolina tried to fight back but was unable to close the gap, as the team ultimately dropped the set 25-18.

UNC was quick to bounce back at the start of the second set, quickly going up 7-3. The Demon Deacons then went on a scoring run and brought the score to 8-6. A vigorous back-and-forth affair led to both teams trading points until the media timeout took place when UNC led 15-10. Both teams called timeouts at 17-11 and 18-14, respectively, as the coaches were trying to swing the game in their favor. Eventually, the Tar Heels pulled ahead and tied the match with a 25-20 second-set win. 

The match continued a similar pattern in the third set. The score was leveled 6-6, but in contrast to previous sets, neither side was able to establish themselves early on. After ties at 7-7 and 9-9,  Wake Forest finally started to widen the gap. The Deacons went on a scoring run to stretch its lead to 15-9, and despite a final push by UNC, Wake Forest closed out the set with a 25-22 victory.

In the final set, Wake Forest looked to seal the victory early and pulled ahead to a 7-2 lead. The Demon Deacons seemed to have the match wrapped up when they went up 16-9, but the Tar Heels fought back to close the score to 18-17. Despite these efforts, however, UNC couldn’t complete the comeback and dropped the final set 25-22. 

Who stood out? 

Shaffmaster continued her strong start to the season and finished the match with 21 kills. She also led the game in points with 26.

Babic was also solid, as she tallied 33 assists to set up her teammates against a quality Wake Forest defense.

When was it decided?

Despite falling behind in the third set, the Tar Heels attempted to come back in the fourth. However, this effort was short lived, as the Demon Deacons pulled out the win in the final set after a passing error from Babic and an attack error from Shaffmaster.

Why does it matter?

The Tar Heels have now lost three games in a row, all coming in conference play. The team will need to regroup quickly in order to improve its chances of making the NCAA Tournament for the second straight season.

When do they play next?

The Tar Heels will head to Blacksburg, Va. to face Virginia Tech on Sunday. The game will begin at 1 p.m.

@dthsports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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