CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - North Carolina rebounded Saturday with a 3-2 (17-25, 25-16, 25-20, 14-25, 15-8) win over Ohio in Carmichael Arena. The Tar Heels improved to 9-2 on the season behind a strong team effort of starters and play from the bench, led by senior Emily McGee's 15 kills and 10 digs and sophomore Lauren Adkins' 15 kills, three aces and six digs.
"This was a great bounce-back win for us," assistant coach Tyler Adams said. "Ohio is a really good team, projected to possibly win their conference, so this was a really good win for us against a tough opponent. I thought it was a great team win. We went to our bench a little bit and showed our depth. Jordyn, Victoria and Lauren came in and all played great, giving us some energy that we needed from the bench.
Although Ohio forced a five-set match, the Tar Heels' play improved greatly from Friday's upset 3-1 loss to NC State.
"Today was a completely different team that showed up for us. The atmosphere here helped us, whereas maybe the hostile crowd last night took us a little bit out of our game. We were able to play our style of volleyball, the way we've played most of the season. Yesterday was tough, but hopefully it was an eye-opener for us, and we'll learn from it to help us the rest of the year," Adams said.
The Bobcats controlled set one, hitting .343 over Carolina's .161 behind eight kills from Kelly Lamberti. Sophomore Chaniel Nelson had five kills and three digs for North Carolina, and freshman Paige Neuenfeldt had three blocks, but the Tar Heels dropped the frame 25-17.
Carolina found its rhythm in the second set, taking the win with a 25-16 score. Adkins had a strong set, leading with eight kills and three aces. McGee added five kills and five digs as the Tar Heels' attack improved to .371 in the second frame.
North Carolina saw solid hitting again in set three, finishing at .263 and limiting Ohio to .064. Adkins had another five kills and five digs, while McGee had four kills, Nelson added seven digs, and Neuenfeldt recorded three blocks.
Ohio rebounded in a dominant set four, taking the win at 25-14. The Bobcats hit .367, limiting the Tar Heels to just -.062. Karin Bull finished with six blocks and Lamberti had six kills to lead Ohio's play. Freshman Victoria McPherson contributed three kills and sophomore Ece Taner had five digs, but the Bobcats tallied three five-point runs throughout the set to force a fifth frame.
The Tar Heels returned to the strong play from sets two and three, clinching the match with a 15-8 final-set win. Nelson had four more kills with two blocks, senior Tia Gaffen added two blocks, and McPherson had three kills to help Carolina grab their ninth win of the season.
North Carolina (9-2, 0-1) continues home play next weekend at Carmichael Arena, hosting Wake Forest Friday at 7 p.m. and Duke on Sunday at 2 p.m.