The Tar Heels were unable to defend against the LSU offensive attack, posting a season-low 34 digs in the match.
The LSU defense turned in 49 digs and limited North Carolina’s offense to a .202 hitting percentage. The Tar Heels also recorded eight service errors to round out a subpar offensive performance.
North Carolina recovered with a straight set, 25-15, 25-17, 25-17 victory against New Mexico State on Saturday.
Both the UNC defense and offense rebounded from mediocre performances against LSU in a dominant win in which the Tar Heels faced only one lead change in the entire match.
Defensively, North Carolina held the Aggies to a .147 hitting percentage and recorded 51 digs and 18 block assists.
The Tar Heels’ offense turned in a season-best .364 hitting percentage on 43 kills and only seven errors. North Carolina also only had three service errors in the match.
North Carolina wrapped up the weekend with a come-from-behind 23-25, 25-19, 25-23, 25-16 victory against Rice.
The match had nine total lead changes and 19 tied scores, making for an exciting match that showcased UNC’s balanced offense.
North Carolina had three players — seniors Johnston, Vaughen and Suzanne Haydel — record kills in double-digits. Sophomore Cora Harms also led the Tar Heels with season-best 35 assists, and Johnston led the attack at net with seven block assists.
The Owls jumped out to a 21-14 lead in the first game and were poised to take the game in commanding fashion until the Tar Heels went on a 9-3 run to cut the Owl lead to one.
North Carolina was unable to win the first game, but used the momentum from its long run to take the next three games in dominant fashion. The Tar Heels held Rice to a .104 hitting percentage in the second game, recorded a .306 hitting percentage in the third game and registered a 76 percent sideout percentage in the fourth game to close out the match.