LEXINGTON, Ky. - North Carolina dropped its season opener and match one of the University of Kentucky Classic, as the Wildcats won 3-0 Friday at Memorial Coliseum. Senior Emily McGee tallied 10 kills and nine digs, and freshman Jordyn Schnabl added 25 assists with four kills and three digs in the Tar Heel loss.
The Tar Heels dropped the opening set 25-23, as the Wildcats tallied at .227 attack percentage over UNC's .154. Schnabl had 11 assists in her first play for Carolina, while Tia Gaffen, Chaniel Nelson, McGee and Schnabl each had three kills apiece. The two teams rallied back and forth, with each team taking four-point runs throughout the set before Kentucky finished the frame with back-to-back points.
Carolina opened the second set 2-0, but Kentucky took the frame 25-22 in similar fashion as the first. Down 24-20 at set point, the Tar Heels answered with two straight points, but the Wildcats were able to hold on for the win. Schnabl had nine assists and McGee tallied five of UNC's 10 kills to help the Carolina offense, but the Tar Heels couldn't match Kentucky's 19 kills and .324 attack percentage. McGee also added one service ace and three digs for UNC.
The Wildcats carried their momentum into the third frame, building a 7-2 lead after a five point run at the start of the set. Kentucky finished with a .227 attack percentage to UNC's -.067, leading the offense with three aces and nine kills while recording 4.5 team blocks over Carolina's 2 blocks. Gaffen, McGee and Lauren Adkins had two kills apiece, and Schnabl added five assists.
"I was disappointed with what happened particularly in the third set, but I was pleased with our fight in the first two," head coach Joe Sagula said of the Tar Heels first match of the season. "I was shocked and surprised with how poor our intensity was and the way we played in that third set, and it was a big let down for us. We had some great things we saw in the first two sets that we will use and grow with.
"Our defense was good in the first two sets, but we got out of rhythm in our last set. Kentucky is a good team and was able to do a lot with their offense, but we need to put out more effort against top-25 teams, and we need to rebound and put out better effort tomorrow against Long Beach State."
"I though Emily McGee played her typical solid game, and I was very pleased with how Jojo Schnabl handled her setting duties and her poise throughout the whole game. This was a big match to grow from, and I'm confident we will be a better team."
Tar Heel play at the Kentucky Classic continues Saturday, as Carolina will face Long Beach State at 1 p.m. and Lipscomb at 6 p.m. Stay tuned to GoHeels.com for scores and recaps, and follow the Tar Heels on Twitter for in-game updates.