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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC volleyball falls in reverse sweep to No. 25 Florida State

First-year outside hitter Sydney Nolan (5) and first-year outside hitter Romani Thurman (23) block the ball in UNC's volleyball game against Florida State University in Carmichael Arena on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023. UNC lost 3-2.

The North Carolina volleyball team (12-14, 6-11 ACC) lost to No. 25 Florida State (22-8, 15-2 ACC) in a five-set match on Sunday afternoon in Carmichael Arena. 

In the first set, graduate hitter Maria Miggins opened up the scoring for North Carolina with two kills that scraped the fingers of the Seminole defense. The block defense came up big in the first set for both teams. First-year hitter Sydney Nolan came up big to stop middle blocker Kiari Robey’s swing.

A multitude of out-of-system balls kept both defenses all over the court waiting for the other side to make an error. The Tar Heels came in strong with the tip offense, going both deep and short to keep the Seminoles on their toes. A short tip by first-year hitter Romani Thurman over the Seminole block advanced UNC to a 15-12 lead.

After the North Carolina timeout, back-to-back kills from the Tar Heels put UNC ahead by two. Kills from the right side is what hurt the Seminoles. Miggins swung cross-court to add to the lead, while Thurman added another two points by swing and block. 

Two kills from the left side by junior hitter Mabrey Shaffmaster gave UNC the set win, 25-19. 

Nolan started off the second set strong with a big swing down the middle and a key block on the left side to help North Carolina reach an early 5-1 lead. A service ace and back-row kill by first-year hitter Safi Hampton extended the lead to 7-1. 

The Seminoles struggled to put up strong hands at the net, as many of the UNC kills were finished from touched swings. 

Nolan was highly successful in the second set tallying five kills. She was smart at the net and swung intentionally, varying her targets between the left and right sides. Nolan’s net defense was dominant and she capitalized on Seminole overpasses to complete the kill. 

North Carolina was strategic in ball placement in the second set pushing and tipping to all ends of the court. The Tar Heels never fell behind after their dominant start. UNC won set two 25-19 after a blocking error by the Seminoles.

At the beginning of the third set, Florida State took an early 3-0 lead after back-to-back kills by right-side Maddie Snider. Various types of offensive attacks and commanding blocks from Florida State led to a 12-5 Seminole lead.

North Carolina struggled in the third set to keep their serve receive passes off the net, which put the setter in a difficult position to produce a well-placed ball to the hitter. This forced the hitter to not always swing aggressively in order to keep play going. 

UNC was never able to come back from Florida State’s aggressive start. The Seminoles took set three, 25-14. 

The two teams were tightly contested at the beginning of the fourth set. Florida State tallied two service errors while North Carolina swung into the Seminole block a few times. However, the Seminoles went on to win the fourth set 25-21. 

After a play, Florida State challenged the call in North Carolina’s favor, and it was reversed to give the Seminoles a 12-10 lead. The Seminoles never looked back from there, taking the fifth set 15-12 and completing the reverse sweep.

North Carolina will return to the court for the final time this season against Duke on Friday at 2 p.m. in Carmichael Arena.


@dthsports |

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