"With this kind of weekend, and playing back-to-back as we did, I thought this was a really good win for us against a really good Lipscomb team," head coach Joe Sagula said. "It was a really feisty game against a really successful program, and I had a lot of respect for how well they played. They took Kentucky to five earlier today, so we knew they were going to be a tough battle, but I think for us tonight, everything just came together really well."
"Our serving was phenomenal, our passing was great, and our blocking was too- Chaniel Nelson was like a blocking clinic out there. For us to win 3-0 in a match against a very respectable team like this, everything had to fall right for us, but we did it because we earned it."
"I was really happy with the focus of our team throughout the match and that we really never let up at any point. In the third set, Lipscomb made a run but we still kept our composure and our focus, which we really didn't see last night. I think we've really matured throughout the weekend, and we've gained some confidence in where we can be. A lot of our goals are still very attainable throughout the year."
"Emily McGee was phenomenal all weekend, as was Tia Gaffen. I told the team we had a number of players who rebounded from playing at a certain level last night to a significantly higher level today. Ece Taner was phenomenal and really stepped in to absorb the role of the libero. Kayla Berringer also had a huge improvement, Chaniel Nelson was a major factor out there, and Paige Neuenfeldt really stepped up to give us some dynamics," Sagula said.
Carolina started out the match strong, taking the first set 25-11. The Tar Heels dominated the second-half of the set, closing out on an 11-point run behind a rolling offensive effort, and logging a .333 attack percentage over Lipscomb's -.074 in the first frame. Senior Cora Harms had seven assists and four digs for UNC, and junior Kayla Berringer added four kills.
The Tar Heels kept up their rhythm through the second set, winning 25-18. Schnabl and Harms combined for 11 assists, while McGee recorded four kills. Taner had four digs to lead the Tar Heel defense, which tallied five team blocks behind Neuenfeldt and senior Heather Henry.
Carolina jumped out to an early 8-0 lead in the third set, but the Lady Bison climbed back to reduce the gap to 17-13. Behind six assists from Harms, plus three blocks and four kills by Neuenfeldt, the Tar Heels finished out the set on an 8-5 roll to close down Lipscomb for the win. Carolina recorded a .234 attack percentage for the match while holding Lipscomb to just -.028.
McGee and Taner were named to the Kentucky Classic All-Tournament team, along with Kentucky's Lauren O'Conner, Christine Hartmann and Alexandra Morgan; Janisa Johnson of Long Beach State; and Lauren Ford of Lipscomb.
"I think we're really becoming comfortable with who we are as a team," Sagula said. "I feel really good with how we're finishing up the weekend, which will help us work really focused this week to prepare for next weekend's tournament."
The Tar Heels will travel to Davis, Calif., next weekend for the UC Davis Tournament, where they will face Santa Clara on Friday, Aug. 31, and Utah and UC Davis on Saturday, Sept. 1.