DURHAM, N.C. - The Tar Heels downed Duke 3-1 (25-14, 25-18, 22-25, 25-17) Friday night, claiming their first victory at Cameron Indoor Stadium since a 3-1 win in 2004. Sophomore Chaniel Nelson led Carolina with 17 kills, hitting .448 on the night and tallying four blocks for UNC.
"I was really proud our team tonight and how we played, and I'm really excited for our seniors, who haven't won here. It was a really special match for them," UNC head coach Joe Sagula said. "The way we responded in the fourth set, with Chaniel as our go-to player, was phenomenal. Paige also had some great numbers tonight, and once again, it was really a team effort."
"We had some people who really helped us early in the match, and then others later. That was exciting for us to see, having different players step up when we needed them. We need to take the confidence from how we played tonight into our match on Sunday," Sagula said.
Carolina opened the match in dominant form, taking set one with a score of 25-14. Leading 7-6 early, the Tar Heels were feuled by an eight-point run to go up 15-6. UNC was led by five kills from Nelson, five digs from sophomore Ece Taner and two blocks by freshman Paige Neuenfeldt.
Set two was closer with the score tied much of the frame until the Tar Heels took a 10-1 run to finish it 25-18. Carolina hit a strong .333 over Duke's .207, led by sophomore Lauren Adkins' three kills and Taner's two aces and five digs.
Duke controlled the next set and held off a Tar Heel sweep as the Blue Devils won 25-22. Carolina committed seven errors in the third frame, which didn't help its .179 attack. Nelson had two blocks and four kills for UNC, while Taner and seniors Cora Harms and Emily McGee had three digs apiece. Neuenfeldt and senior Tia Gaffen also each added three kills.
Opening the fourth set with five straight points, Carolina claimed the match with a final 25-17 win. Nelson had seven kills, and junior Kayla Berringer had six in the final frame. McGee added seven digs, Taner had five, and freshman Jordyn Schnabl added four for UNC, while Nelson and Neuenfeldt each recorded a block.
Carolina, now 18-4 overall and 9-3 in conference play, travels to Wake Forest on Sunday for a match with the Demon Deacons at 1 p.m. The match will be broadcast live on regional television and ESPN3 in areas outside the region.