The North Carolina volleyball team dropped both home matches this weekend, losing to No. 6 Louisville on Friday and Notre Dame on Sunday. The Tar Heels have now lost five straight matches, including three at home.
Here are three takeaways from the weekend as North Carolina looks to bounce back following a tough stretch:
Ability to compete with a top team
In UNC's second matchup against a ranked opponent this season, the Tar Heels were able to win a set against the Cardinals. They did so without star junior outside hitter Mabrey Shaffmaster, who missed the match due to an injury she suffered last weekend against Miami.
“I told them that the first set wasn’t a fluke,” head coach Mike Schall said. “That we earned that win.”
The Tar Heels lost a close second set before dropping the following two, for a 3-1 loss. However, their ability to compete at a high level against the 2022 national runner-up is a good indication of the potential this team has.
“We’re closer and closer and I also told the team — I sound like a broken record — that we’re right there,” Schall said. “But that’s what I believe. That's what I see."
Impact of first-years Safi Hampton and Romani Thurman
Throughout the weekend, first-year outside hitter Safi Hampton was a consistent threat for the Tar Heels, both offensively and defensively. Hampton — who earned her first career start last weekend at Miami — stepped up in the absence of Shaffmaster on Friday, tallying 12 kills.