NC State volleyball was defeated 3-2 by UNC-Chapel Hill on Wednesday night at Reynolds Coliseum after being on the road for three weeks.
The Wolfpack (5-10, 0-3 ACC) faced its third ACC loss of the season to its rivals, the Tar Heels (4-9, 1-2 ACC) after a long five-set match. The Wolfpack started the game out strong by winning the first set 25-23. North Carolina rose up to take the second set 25-20 and then the third set 25-18. The Wolfpack kept itself in the game by taking the fourth set 25-21 and NC State was in good standing to take the fifth and final set, but the Tar Heels managed to turn the game around last minute to win the game 15-12.
“It was a close game, it was quite the roller coaster ride,” head coach Linda Hampton-Keith said. “Great things, amazing things happened where we played amazing and then we didn’t play so well and [UNC] played great at times and then [UNC] didn’t play so great at times.”
The Tar Heels may have scored the first point of the first set but the Wolfpack was quick to turn the tables. With help from senior libero Grace Irvin’s service ace to a kill from sophomore outside hitter Jade Parchment, the Wolfpack went on a 5-0 run to put the Pack back in the game.
The Pack displayed its offensive prowess during the first set from service aces to offensive attacks. When the Tar Heels started to close the score, the Pack would push forward to keep its lead, 15-12.
The Wolfpack demonstrated a lot of effort and hustle to stay on top of the first set. A dump from freshman setter Nina Sharpton held the Pack’s strong lead, 19-14.
Then the Tar Heels woke up. After a few failed timeouts to get the Tar Heels to break the Pack’s momentum, they were finally successful and closed the score to 22-21.
Despite the Wolfpack reaching set point, 24-21, the Tar Heels managed to stop the Pack from easily taking the first set, 24-23.
After a timeout was called, the Wolfpack executed its ideal play. A dig from Irvin to a set from Sharpton for a kill by junior opposite hitter Melissa Evans to earn the Pack the first set.
Evans led the Pack offensively for the first half of the game, having 10 out of her 15 kills by the end of the second set. Later on, both Parchment and junior middle blocker Jessica Kemp would step up to have 14 kills apiece. Parchment also had a strong defensive performance with 10 digs.
“Even though with a loss, still taking what I can take away from this game,” Parchment said. “I just think that it’s hard to differentiate a loss from the success that happened in the match. Even though there were a lot of good things that were happening it just wasn’t enough.”
The Tar Heels were out for revenge in the second set as they started out 8-3.
The Wolfpack’s attempt to take control of the set after calling a timeout may have appeared chaotic but the Pack found short-lived success in cutting down the lead 8-5.
The errors stacked up against the Pack from a service error, attack error and even an ill-placed set that the Tar Heels took advantage of to increase their lead 12-7, leaving the Pack in a tight spot.
After much struggle, the Pack tied up the score, 20-20. But it wasn’t enough as the Tar Heels took no notice and went on a 5-0 run to take the second set.
The Wolfpack set the pace in the third set, leading the Tar Heels 7-3. But it wouldn’t be long before the Tar Heels overtook the Pack, 11-9. The Wolfpack tried hard to not give up and managed to close some of the way, 24-17.
With an 8-3 start, the Wolfpack was just getting warmed up for the fourth set. It wasn’t long until the Pack’s efforts paid off and led the Tar Heels 12-5.
Even when the Tar Heels managed to close in on the Pack, the offense would take another point such as a kill from Kemp to keep the Tar Heels at bay, 17-14.
A solo block from senior middle blocker Lauryn Terry brought the Wolfpack up 22-18. Terry only had one solo block but was a part of five block assists to hold up the defense on the net.
Shortly after, Terry scored a point to bring the Pack to set point, 24-20.
With both teams having two set wins, the Wolfpack wasted no time charging through the fifth set with a 5-1 start.
The Pack was able to hold onto its lead for most of the fifth set, even coming out on top every time the Tar Heels tied up the score until the Tar Heels finally pulled ahead 12-11.
The Wolfpack would only be able to score one last point before the Tar Heels closed out the night for their first ACC win.
“Being consistent and reliable is something we talk about obviously,” Hampton-Keith said. “We want to be consistent we want to not have these wild swings of sets and not wild swings in points.”
The Wolfpack will return to Reynolds Coliseum against Virginia Tech this Friday at 7 p.m.