Chapel Hill, N.C. - The North Carolina volleyball team registered a 3-1 victory over the Maryland Terrapins Friday night, winning 27-25, 22-25, 25-19, 25-17. The Tar Heels improved to 16-4 (7-3) on the season. Freshman Paige Neuenfeldt paced the Heels with 14 kills while hitting an impressive .355, and libero Ece Taner led the defensive effort with 25 digs.
"I'm excited to get this win at the beginning of a home stand for us. I was so excited about the way we played early in the match, but we played really sloppy in the middle. It became a serving and passing game, in which we weren't as strong as we needed to be," said North Carolina head coach Joe Sagula.
"Overall, I'm excited how we finished strong and played well at the end. We found ways to win, and we played a lot of people once again. So I think we just want to build momentum, build confidence going into tomorrow, and we'll evaluate the whole weekend and hopefully with another victory tomorrow."
Carolina raced out to a 16-8 lead in the first set courtesy of six kills by Neuenfeldt. However, the Terrapins would go on to take 14 of the next 20 points, including a run of five in a row, to even the score. Carolina responded with a kill by Kayla Berringer and after an attack error by the Terrapins, the Tar Heels would claim the set 27-25.
The second set became a see-saw affair, as no team led by any more than four points despite six service aces from the Tar Heels. Ultimately, Maryland's Ashleigh Crutcher, a Cary native, would lead the Terrapins to the win, knocking home the final kill to claim the set 25-22.
The Tar Heels responded with a decisive third set victory behind the arm of Emily McGee. The senior recorded six kills on nine attempts, as Carolina hit .359 on the set, while holding the Terrapins to just a .171 clip.
Carolina closed it out in the fourth set with a 25-17 win. Kayla Berringer tallied four kills, while Neuenfeldt and Tia Gaffen contributed three apiece. Cora Harms also had a kill of her own in the deciding set.
The Tar Heels return to action tomorrow afternoon at 5 p.m. in Carmichael Arena. They welcome the visiting Boston College Eagles on Turn It Pink night, as the Heels will wear pink jerseys in honor of cancer awareness.