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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC volleyball drops third straight match in 3-1 loss to Florida State


UNC head coach Joe Sagula and the team are pictured during a volleyball match against Louisville on Sunday, Nov. 13, 2022. Sagula announced his retirement in January after 33 years at the helm of UNC's program.

The North Carolina volleyball team (15-12, 7-9 ACC) lost its third straight match on Friday after losing 3-1 to the Florida State Seminoles (18-9, 10-6 ACC) in a critical road matchup.

What happened?

The Tar Heels got out to an early 3-0 start thanks to two Seminoles’ errors and a service ace from sophomore outside hitter Mabrey Shaffmaster. Florida State caught up to UNC after its quick start out of the gate, however, and the set remained close until the teams hit double-digit points. 

With the game tied at 10, the Tar Heels’ rattled off 10 unanswered points to put themselves ahead 20-10. UNC received a lot of help from the Seminoles during this run, as Florida State committed four errors that led to points for the Tar Heels. 

UNC generated its own points as well, as senior libero Karenna Wurl recorded two service aces while Shaffmaster accounted for two kills during the run to help the Tar Heels pick up a dominant 25-14 win. 

The second set was a game of big runs, as both teams went on several of them. The Seminoles went on the set’s first run, scoring five unanswered points to put themselves ahead 5-1, but the Tar Heels responded with a 6-2 run that tied the score. 

Florida State went on an 8-1 run at a critical time in the set, which put the Tar Heels in a substantial 19-12 deficit. Despite a comeback effort, the big deficit proved too deep of a hole for UNC to dig itself out of, and the Tar Heels lost the set, 25-18.  

Graduate outside hitter Charley Niego got UNC out to an early lead in the third set by scoring four of the team’s first seven points on kills. The Tar Heels led 8-4 early on, but that lead quickly dissipated. 

The score remained even until UNC allowed the Seminoles to score five unanswered with the game tied at 13. Two 3-0 runs helped the Tar Heels get back within striking distance of the Seminoles’ lead late in the set, but UNC couldn’t close the set late and lost 25-23. 

Similar to the second set, the fourth set saw both teams go on substantial runs. Florida State went on the first run, scoring three unanswered to tie the set at seven. Shortly after the Seminoles’ run, the Tar Heels responded with a 6-1 run by capitalizing on several Seminoles’ errors to take a five-point edge on Florida State. Immediately after UNC’s 6-1 run, Florida State went on one of its own, taking a 16-15 advantage on the Tar Heels. 

The set was tightly contested after the Seminoles took the 16-15 lead. Trailing by one late in the set, the Tar Heels gave up six unanswered points, allowing the Seminoles to take a 25-18 fourth-set victory and a 3-1 match win. 

Who stood out? 

Shaffmaster had one of her more well-rounded games this season, as the sophomore middle hitter recorded 15 kills, 23 digs, two blocks and an ace. 

When was it decided?

It appeared as if the Tar Heels had a chance to force a fifth set late in the fourth as the team trailed by just one, but a 6-1 run from the Seminoles late in the fourth set proved to be the final nail in the coffin for UNC’s comeback hopes. 

Why does it matter?

On top of handing the Tar Heels their third straight loss, the performance is yet another example of UNC’s struggles to close out sets and matches. 

The third and fourth sets were close late, but the Tar Heels found themselves on the wrong side of the scoreboard both times.

When do they play next?

The Tar Heels’ next matchup is on Wednesday, when the team will return to Carmichael Arena to face Duke at 2 p.m. 

@dthsports | 

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