UNC Volleyball Beats Duke in Five-Set Match

The UNC volleyball team won 3-2 in an exciting five-set match against Duke Wednesday afternoon at Carmichael Arena.

With the win, Carolina improves to 25-2 overall and remains in first place in the ACC standings. Duke drops to 21-7 overall and 13-4 in the conference.

“I thought Duke was phenomenal and the defense was relentless today,” UNC Coach Joe Sagula says. “It was hard to put a ball down. But in the end we found enough good plays to win. We play against each other all the time and I think we both brought the best out of each other today.”

Lauren McAdoo had 14 kills for UNC with two aces, two blocks and seven digs. Senior Ece Taner had a career-high 30 digs while Leigh Andrew led North Carolina with a career-high 18 kills and 15 digs in the match.

“Leigh had 18 kills to lead us and was so sneaky.  Lauren McAdoo, I thought she had a career day. And in terms of her play, her attitude, her mentality, she did, this was her best match,“ Sagula says.

Joe SagulaUNC was able to clinch the first set, 25-19, but had a slower start in the second set and fell short to Duke, 24-26. The back-and-forth match continued as Carolina took the 3rd set, 25-19, and Duke took it right back in the 4th set, 32-30, to tie up the match.

Senior Chaniel Nelson won the match for the Tar Heels in the 5th set, 15-13, knocking a kill off a block from the Blue Devils. The Tar Heels will play Wake Forest Friday at Carmichael at 2 p.m. to round out the regular season.

“Right now, I told them tomorrow that we are coming to practice, because Friday is the day that we play to win a championship,” Sagula says.




Streak Snapped: Sloppy Tar Heels Fall to Duke

CHAPEL HILL– Carolina volleyball’s undefeated season was snapped Friday night at the hands of the rival Duke Blue Devils.

The Tar Heels fell in straight sets (22-25, 22-25, 19-25) in front of a record 5,322 in attendance for Turn It Pink Night in Carmichael Arena.

No. 10 Carolina dropped to 15-1 on the season and 4-1 in the ACC with the loss while Duke improved to 14-2 overall and 5-0 in conference.

Head Coach Joe Sagula says all the unforced errors, 28 in total, proved to be the undoing of the Tar Heels. Duke only committed 14 errors Friday.

“It was an unbelievably great environment to play in, but I hope we can do this again and play better,” Coach Sagula says.

Despite the disappointment, Jovana Bjelica turned in a great individual performance, racking up 10 kills and two blocks in the contest.

The good news is that the Tar Heels won’t have to wait long to wipe the sour taste of defeat out of their mouths. They’ll be back out on the floor Saturday at 5 p.m. in a league match against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons.




UNC Volleyball Machine: A Conversation with Coach Sagula

Photo courtesy of volleyballmag.com.

CHAPEL HILL– There are some ladies wearing Carolina jerseys who have been lighting up Carmichael Arena lately. And no, we’re not talking about the women’s basketball team. Not yet, at least.

Off to their best start and ranking in school history, the members of the Tar Heel Volleyball team are brimming with confidence.

But Head Coach Joe Sagula says his No. 10 ranked Carolina squad, currently sitting at 15-0, needs to stay grounded despite all the success they’ve been enjoying this season.

“The confidence is high, but we’re trying to keep it under control. It’s a fine line between being cocky and confident. We are trying to just walk the confidence line. The job of the coaches is to constantly remind us that we have to keep getting better,” Coach Sagula says.

Although only half way through the season, Coach Sagula says he is happy with the amount of attention the volleyball program is receiving.

Coach Sagula says he thinks the biggest growth in his Tar Heel squad has occurred in the overall balance of leadership. He says it helps to have a team full of players looking to step it up at different times.

“I think it’s a shared experience this year. And I think that’s something we were hoping for. Different people have stepped up and helped drive the team to being successful at different times,” Coach Sagula says.

Earlier in the season, redshirt junior Chaniel Nelson was ruled out for the remainder of the year due to a stress fracture in her tibia. But Coach Sagula says the diagnosis cleared up all uncertainty for the Tar Heels and has helped many of his players fill new roles.

“We were going to play hard without her until we knew what the situation was. Once we realized that, it allowed us to go forward and think about how we are going to continue and plan to get better this year with the personnel we have,” Coach Sagula says.

The Tar Heels boast an impressive 29-game home winning streak. And Coach Sagula says defending the home court in Chapel Hill is something Carolina definitely takes pride in.

“We don’t emphasize the streak. However, we do definitely talk about the fact that we want to defend Carmichael Arena. We want to make sure that we are always playing our best at home in front of our home crowd,” Coach Sagula says.

Surveying the ACC title landscape, Coach Sagula says he doesn’t have to look far for Carolina’s toughest competition. That squad happens to be just a short drive down 15-501.

And Friday’s 7 p.m. conference showdown is against those Duke Blue Devils. It will be Carolina’s annual Turn It Pink night for breast cancer awareness. Pink UNC volleyball shirts will be sold, and player jerseys will be auctioned off at Carmichael Arena.