The Daily Tar Heel
Printing news. Raising hell. Since 1893.
Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023 Newsletters Latest print issue

We keep you informed.

Help us keep going. Donate Today.
The Daily Tar Heel

UNC volleyball wraps up non-conference play with sweep over Coastal Carolina

UNC graduate outside hitter Emani' Foster (8) spiked the ball in the Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023, game against Coastal Carolina. UNC bested Coastal Carolina with a score of 3-0.

The North Carolina volleyball team (6-3) defeated Coastal Carolina (5-7), 3-0, in Carmichael Arena on Sunday afternoon.

The first set opened with the Tar Heels and Chanticleers keeping the score close with multiple service errors by both teams. A block by junior outside hitter Mabrey Shaffmaster and sophomore middle blocker Sadie Swift helped tie the game up at six points apiece.

The set continued to be back and forth, with both teams trading kills and attacking errors. The Tar Heels displayed good judgment at the net by reading the Chanticleer defense well, earning back-to-back kills to go up 19-15. This led to a Coastal Carolina timeout. 

“We have a trend of letting other teams' energies affect our own,” Shaffmaster said, despite the Tar Heels showing palpable fire in the first set.

The Tar Heels were able to pull away for a few points with swings from senior middle blocker Kaya Merkler and Shaffmaster. Graduate outside hitter Emani’ Foster closed out the set by tipping the ball into a hole in the Chanticleer defense. North Carolina took the first set, 25-23.

The theme of the first two sets was which team could capitalize off the other’s service errors — North Carolina missed three serves in the first set, and would go on to commit six more service errors in the match. Meanwhile, seven of the Chanticleers' 11 misfires occurred in the first set alone.

“We made life pretty easy on Coastal,” head coach Mike Schall said.

During the second set, neither team was able to find their groove and pull away. Sophomore setter Anita Babic found ways to exploit gaps in the Chanticleers' defense, but Coastal Carolina's leading hitter in Jasmine Rivest continued to put pressure on UNC's defense.

For eight straight points, the Tar Heels and Chanitcleers went kill for kill. North Carolina was able to pull away when Merkler and Babic switched roles, with Merkler setting up Babic for a kill.

Foster’s back row attack forced the Chanticleers to take their final timeout of the set after going down 21-14. Coastal Carolina capitalized at the service line with two straight aces from setter Cagla Bengi, along with a kill from Rivest to trim UNC's lead to 22-20.

Schall called timeout to reset his team, and despite a block party by Coastal Carolina, UNC pulled away to win the second set, 25-21. 

The Chanticleer defense came out strong in the third set with three straight blocks. However, a swing from Merkler and an ace from sophomore libero Maddy May stopped Coastal Carolina’s momentum. A few attacking errors from the front lines of the Chanticleer’s offense and a block from Swift put UNC up, 7-3.

Despite Coastal Carolina's efforts, an ace by Babic and an overpass kill from Merkler helped North Carolina to extend its lead to 14-8.

Swift commanded the latter half of the third set with two straight kills. The Tar Heels brought the defense at the net later with blocks from Swift and Babic.

Coastal Carolina was able to post 12 blocks against UNC, but Swift succeeded in her goal to “go fast and beat the block.” Shaffmaster put the finishing touches on her game-high 15 kills, taking the final set, 25-14, and completing the Tar Heel sweep.

North Carolina will open ACC play this Friday at 6 p.m. against Virginia in hopes of staying undefeated in Carmichael Arena.

To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.