The North Carolina volleyball team (10-11, 4-8 ACC) lost in four sets against N.C. State (17-6, 7-5 ACC) Sunday afternoon. Junior outside hitter Mabrey Shaffmaster led the Tar Heels with 19 kills while sophomore libero Maddy May added 17 digs and first-year outside hitter Sydney Nolan chipped in seven blocks in the match.
In the first set, UNC struggled to find its groove and trailed by six points early on. Nolan was unable to find holes in the N.C.State block and was repeatedly stuffed. Sophomore middle blocker Sadie Swift and Nolan were unable to close the block on their side of the net, allowing for N.C. State to capitalize on open court in the seams.
Shaffmaster tallied her first kill of the match at 10-7 as North Carolina still trailed the Wolfpack. At 15 points apiece, North Carolina began to find what seemed like a bit of momentum with freshman setter Zoe Behrendt dishing the ball out to Swift, Shaffmaster and graduate outside hitter Emani’ Foster.
However, just as they tied the game UNC committed its fifth attacking error of the set compared to the two committed by N.C. State. The powerful top-spin serve from N.C. State's senior libero Skye Stokes proved to be too much for the UNC defensive line, allowing her to serve two aces on a five point run. N.C. State was able to complete its first set victory, 25-21.
“Against N.C. State, we knew we had to be ready, and we just didn't play like it early on,” head coach Mike Schall said. “So to be in that position, that's something that I wish we would have taken advantage of at a higher level, but we didn't get the job done.”
In the second set, Foster led the way for North Carolina by recording another two quick kills. UNC began to diversify its shots on offense. Nolan found the floor in the back corner and Shaffmaster had success on the opposite line.
While May was able to pick up most balls, the Wolfpack found scoring opportunities all over the court, making themselves hard to defend. Despite the 25-20 second set loss, May led the team with 10 digs over the first two sets.
“For Maddy and really all of our defenders, it was tough,” Schall said. “So we once again had to put some pressure on them from the service line. But even in those situations, they're good enough to score out of them.”