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The Daily Tar Heel

Three takeaways from UNC volleyball's 3-1 loss to N.C. State


Junior defensive specialist Marissa Meyerhoefer (24) dives to save the ball in Carmichal Arena on Sunday, Oct. 29, 2023 during the Tar Heels' volleyball game against N.C. State.

After dropping the first two sets at Carmichael Arena against N.C. State on Sunday, UNC forced a fourth set with a win in the third. However, the late burst of energy was not enough to pull out the win, eventually falling 1-3.

Here are three takeaways for UNC going into the rest of the season:

Come prepared to play

N.C. State opened up the match on a 5-0 scoring run. This led to an immediate timeout for the Tar Heels as a way of regrouping.

“We weren't playing connected,” head coach Mike Schall said. “It's something we talked about in the locker room. For whatever reason – and we have to figure this out – we just didn't seem ready at the beginning of the match.”

Whatever was said in that timeout likely had an impact on the court, as UNC tied the score at 16-16 later in the set. The first set ultimately went to the Wolfpack, showing the Tar Heels that they needed to get ahead early as opposed to playing from behind. 

Execute in important moments  

After forcing a fourth set, UNC couldn't pull out the stops necessary to reach a fifth set and complete the reverse sweep. Five service errors in the fourth set gave N.C. State some easy points. With 13 total service errors in the game, UNC struggled with giving up unearned points. 

“I thought our [serve] misses weren't terrible misses,” Schall said. “[There were] a couple of late-game situations where those hurt. You know, those aren't any fun.”

In addition to giving up service errors, a late miscommunication on the court allowed N.C. State to reach match point. Two Tar Heels chased after an easily savable ball, but neither followed through on the return, putting N.C. State in a position to take the game.

“Plays like that, when they have when they happen, [they take] the wind out of your sails a little bit and we never quite caught up from that,” Schall said. 

The service errors and communication mishaps eventually allowed for N.C. State to be in the position for victory. Limiting these in the future will be crucial in helping UNC bounce back when it matters most. 

Follow the momentum 

In the critical third set of the match, UNC had a 28.6 hit percentage of and 12 kills. 

“That was the one set where I felt like we earned a lot of our points,” Schall said. “We didn't give them away and that's like that's the type of volleyball you see when that happens.”

However, the fourth set saw a strong contrast, with North Carolina posting just a 0.162 hit percentage. Even though the set remained close, finishing at 25-23, UNC never followed through on the momentum it found in the third set.

Despite the adverse outcome, Schall remains positive about this up-and-down team. 

“Whether you know it or not, the sun's gonna come up tomorrow,” he said. 


@dthsports |

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