DAVIS, Calif. - The Tar Heels swept tournament host UC Davis 3-0 on Friday, (25-16, 25-22, 25-17) winning the Aggie Invite championship with three straight wins. Behind outstanding play from senior Emily McGee, who had 12 kills and 15 digs, and sophomore Ece Taner's 16 digs, the Tar Heels controlled the Aggies through all three sets.
"I thought today was a great team effort, with a lot of different people contributing throughout the day, especially this last match," head coach Joe Sagula said. "Davis really pushed us in some areas, but we found different ways to win with some different shots. Emily had a great match today, and Chaniel was just a force at the net all three matches, maturing her game, and certainly deserving of the MVP of the game. Cora and Kayla played great in their hometown, which was fantastic. Our passing continued to get better and better, as well as our serving, and I was very happy with that.
"We also had some great contributions off the bench today from Heather, Chaney, and Victoria, and Paige also had a really steady weekend. We're growing as a team, the young players are getting experience, and the team is learning how to play together.
Set one went to the Tar Heels, 25-16 behind a .444 attack percentage, which topped UC Davis' .182. Nelson and Victoria McPherson each had two blocks while Taner, Harms and McGee added three digs apiece to aid a strong UNC defense. Harms also contributed 13 assists, while Nelson added four kills and an ace, along with McPherson.
The Aggies came on stronger in set two, keeping the score pretty even throughout the frame. After a close rally towards the end, UNC claimed the final four straight points for the win. McGee had four kills, six digs and an ace for the Tar Heels, and Taner added nine digs. Neuenfeldt and Berringer each added two blocks.
McGee grabbed another five kills and nine digs to help UNC take the third set 25-17. The Tar Heels hit .279 over Davis' .143, more than doubling the Aggies' number of kills, 20 to 7. McPherson had another strong set for the Tar Heels, contributing three kills and an ace.
In addition to Carolina claiming the team championship, senior Cora Harms and junior Kayla Berringer were named to the all-tournament team, as sophomore Chaniel Nelson was named tournament MVP for her outstanding defensive play all tournament.
"It's great to have a tournament victory early in the year to teach us how to win," Sagula said, "and we're going to take this and get back to work as we look forward to playing at home next weekend."
UNC will host LSU, Middle Tennessee State and Western Michigan in the 16th annual Carolina Classic next Friday and Saturday, Sept. 7-8, at Carmichael Arena. Admission is free and all matches are open to the public.