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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC volleyball falls to Duke in four sets


UNC first-year outside hitter Sydney Nolan (5) prepares to hit the ball during the volleyball game against Duke in Cameron Indoor Stadium on Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2023. UNC fell to Duke 3-1.

The North Carolina volleyball team (10-10, 4-7) fell to the Duke Blue Devils (14-8, 5-6), 3-1, at Cameron Indoor Stadium in a rare Wednesday evening match. 

In a closely contested match all night, the Tar Heels ultimately succumbed to their own errors and inability to win close sets in their loss to the Blue Devils. After winning the first set, the Tar Heels dropped the next three.  

Duke drew first blood off of a kill and errors from both graduate outside hitter Emani’ Foster and junior outside hitter Mabrey Shaffmaster to take an early 3-0 lead. UNC’s first point of the night followed, earned off of a Duke service error. 

A plethora of errors plagued the Tar Heels early on, falling behind 8-3 before head coach Mike Schall called a timeout. Out of the timeout, the Tar Heels went on a 6-0 scoring run to take a 9-8 lead. 

North Carolina and Duke continued to trade points during the middle of the first set, with Duke clinging on to a narrow lead, before UNC was able to tie the set up at 15. The Tar Heels then jumped out to a 22-17 lead and were quickly able to close out the first set with a 25-20 win. 

For the first 10 points of the second set, UNC and Duke went back and forth, before North Carolina took a 7-5 lead. Continuing to trade points in a closely contested second set, Duke took a one point lead following an attack error by sophomore middle blocker Sadie Swift.

Duke was able to extend their second set lead to three, taking a 19-16 lead before a Shaffmaster kill to bring the Tar Heels back within two. Shortly after, the Tar Heels were able to knot the set up at 20 with a block assist by graduate setter Maria Miggins and Swift followed by a Swift kill. 

A long delay late in the second set corrected a scoring mistake, granting Duke a 23-22 lead. UNC was unable to mount a comeback, losing a close second set 25-23. 

In the third set, the Blue Devils took a 6-4 lead after five consecutive errors by North Carolina. Despite tying the match up at seven, Duke was able to extend their lead to 17-12 midway through the third set. 

A late push in the third set by the Tar Heels ultimately fell short, falling 25-20. The set was plagued by North Carolina errors, ranging from service errors to miscommunication. 

North Carolina jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the fourth set, starting off with kills from sophomore setter Anita Babic, first-year outside hitter Sydney Nolan and Foster. The Tar Heel lead didn’t last long, as Duke stormed back to take a 9-7 lead. 

The Blue Devils then controlled the remainder of the set en route to a 25-18 win to clinch the match. 

After five consecutive away matches, the Tar Heels are back in Carmichael Arena on Sunday afternoon when they take on N.C. State at 4 p.m.


@dthsports |

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