The North Carolina Volleyball team (12-12, 6-9 ACC) defeated Wake Forest (17-9, 8-7 ACC), 3-2, on Friday night in a packed Varsity Arena in Winston-Salem.
It was a match led by first-year hitter Safi Hampton and junior hitter Mabrey Shaffmaster, who scored double-digit kills against the Demon Deacons.
It was a battle at the net in a competition of tips, touches and blocks in the beginning. Many plays in the first set were out-of-system balls, which then created chaos on both sides. Demon Deacon middle blocker Olivia Franke extended the lead to three, making it 19-16.
Numerous kills by the Demon Deacons were touched by the fingertips of UNC’s front line, and this type of play put Wake Forest once again up by two — two away from taking the set. Wake Forest took set one 25-23 after a kill by Ava Carney.
In only the second point of the game, Wake Forest head coach Randi Smart used her second challenge of the match. After the decision, she was 100 percent accurate. North Carolina head coach Mike Schall had his hand at a challenge as well on a pancake ball, but was unsuccessful.
After losing a rally, the UNC began to break down due to various errors. The North Carolina offense struggled with errors throughout the set and had a hitting percentage of .065. Wake Forest won the second set, 25-14. At this point, UNC looked to reverse sweep Wake Forest, something they knew all too well.
In the third set, Schall once again utilized his challenge and was successful, which changed Shaffmaster’s serve to an ace to give UNC the momentum it needed. Shaffmaster aced the Demon Deacons multiple times, extending the lead to 7-2.
The Demon Deacons slowly crept back into the game with two kills and a block by Crawford, closing the gap to three points after the score at one point being 11-3 in North Carolina’s favor. Wake Forest would go on to an 8-0 run to make it even at 13 apiece.
An ace and overpass kill by UNC would put the Tar Heels up by three. First-year opposite hitter Sydney Nolan was critical in the third set with multiple kills and finished the night with nine in total. A reversed call in favor of North Carolina put the Tar Heels up 21-17. Smart subbed in middle blocker Dior Charles, who was immediately effective with a block to tie the game at 24. The two teams went point for point until sophomore libero Maddy May would ace the Demon Deacons to win set three 31-29.