At the end of the second set against Duke in Cameron Indoor Stadium, an error was committed in deciding which team should receive the 23rd point.
The score was even at 22 when Duke recorded a kill on UNC’s front line. Instead of Duke receiving the point, which should have been the case, all scoreboards lit up for UNC to claim the point.
Scorers, coaches and players from all teams immediately noticed the error. A problem that could have been fixed in two minutes ended up putting the game on hold for almost twenty as the referees figured out how to fix the problem.
When the error was corrected, Duke wasted no time in claiming the set, and the three following sets to pull out the win. In this swift, momentum-stealing snapshot, Duke was able to take what they needed and run away with the match.
Despite claiming the first set, UNC was never able to capitalize on its opportunities and keep its lead going. Following consistent Duke defense and low UNC execution, the Tar Heels fell to the Blue Devils 3-1.
“[Winning that point] could have changed some things but we just didn't execute well in that moment,” head coach Mike Schall said.
Moments before dropping the critical second set, UNC had gone on a 4-0 run to go up by one point with a kill from sophomore middle blocker Sadie Swift.
“I don't think our energy was bad,” Schall said. “I think our execution needed to be better.”
The Tar Heel offense had their bright spots, but never enough to win out a set after the first. First-year outside hitter Sydney Nolan had the highest hitting percentage on the night, overpowering both Duke and UNC with a 0.833 percentage.