CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - The North Carolina volleyball team swept Louisiana State Friday 3-0 (25-18, 25-19, 25-14) in their first home game of the season and their first play in the 2012 Carolina Classic. Senior Emily McGee led the Tar Heels with 14 kills and 10 digs over three sets, finishing with a .379 attack percentage.
"This was a great way to start the weekend," head coach Joe Sagula said. "We really played a great match with great balance. Emily McGee was outstanding tonight with great kills, great passing and great defense, and Chaniel Nelson had no errors with seven kills in 14 attempts.
"We followed our game plan and executed it well. I thought that was very important. We really need to go to our middle early, and Tia Gaffen really did a lot for us. We established things that we wanted early, and that helped open things up for Kayla, Emily and Chaniel. Tia got us started with a lot of sets and swings, and then Paige finished with a lot of kills for us at the end, so it was a great team effort all the way around. I thought our pursuit defensively, and playing all the balls out of bounds was phenomenal."
Carolina opened the first set on a 6-1 run, rolling to a 25-18 win over the Tigers with a .351 team attack percentage. Sophomore Chaniel Nelson had five kills and five digs for UNC, while McGee had seven kills with three digs. Senior Tia Gaffen also added two blocks, and junior Kaitlyn Anderson contributed an ace.
LSU came on stronger in the second set, evening the score at 8-8 before the Tar Heels took the lead on a 6-2 run. Junior Kayla Berringer, Gaffen and McGee had three kills apiece, while McGee also contributed five digs and Neuenfeldt grabbed one block. Sophomore Ece Taner had an ace as well as three digs for UNC.
Up 2-0 heading into the third, the Tar Heels rolled over the Tigers 25-14 to take the match. McGee finished the set with four kills and two digs, Taner grabbed eight digs, and senior Cora Harms had two aces. Carolina tallied a .300 attack while limiting LSU to -0.23 in the final set.
With an attendance of 2,807, UNC's Carmichael Arena was packed for the Tar Heels' win, which was broadcast live on ESPN3.
"We really fed off the crowd tonight," Sagula said. "Tonight was just a really special night in Carmichael, to be able to open up the season at home with that kind of crowd. The support from all the other student-athletes, our administrators, faculty and staff, and all of our fans and our Carolina Fever student group, was phenomenal. I think they all got turned on to seeing a really great athletic event tonight. Winning the match, the band, and all of the enthusiasm here tonight, was just a great environment to play in. If this is how it was tonight, I can't wait until we play ACC matches here later in the season."
The Tar Heels will face Western Michigan at 12 p.m. and Middle Tennessee State at 7:30 p.m. For the complete Carolina Classic schedule and preview, go here. All games are free and open to the public at Carmichael Arena.