The North Carolina volleyball team (7-8, 1-5 ACC) lost in five sets against Notre Dame (9-5, 3-3 ACC) on Sunday afternoon in Carmichael Arena.
Early struggles getting around the block and adjusting to different players on the court led to the Tar Heels' five-set loss. Leading the way for North Carolina was veteran outside hitter Emani’ Foster, who racked up 13 kills in the match.
After losing in four tight sets to No. 6 Louisville on Friday night, UNC looked to bounce back on Sunday in their match against the Fighting Irish. With junior outside hitter Mabrey Shaffmaster back in the lineup for the Tar Heels and the team at full health, UNC was in good position for the ACC matchup.
In the first set, Notre Dame’s attackers put pressure on sophomore libero Maddy May and the UNC defensive line. A series of overpasses allowed the Fighting Irish to capitalize and put the ball away. Tied at eight apiece, Foster finally found success with a kill that brushed the hands of Notre Dame’s blockers.
With sophomore setter Anita Babic back to serve, the Tar Heels went on a 7-0 scoring run, supplemented by one ace from Babic. Shaffmaster then checked in to serve for the first time following a week out due to injury. Head coach Mike Schall acknowledged that it is “hard to just throw somebody right back into the lineup, especially somebody like her that typically carries a heavy load.”
Despite blocking struggles from Babic and sophomore middle blocker Sadie Swift, UNC held their lead at 17-11. North Carolina’s serves continued to hold strong with a total of four aces in the first set, helping to close the 25-17 victory.
For Notre Dame, setter Nicole Drewnick and middle blocker Lauren Tarnoff continued to be forces at the net, stuffing Foster and first-year outside hitter Safi Hampton.