Boston College volleyball traveled down to North Carolina for matches against University of North Carolina (17-2, 9-0 Atlantic Coast) and North Carolina State (13-9, 6-4). BC (5-15, 0-10) continued its search for its first ACC win and to end its extended winning streak, but again fell short of both goals. It was another disappointing weekend for the Eagles, who will return to Chestnut Hill on a 12-game losing streak. BC went up against tough opponents, but still struggled to cut back on the errors that have been its downfall in so many games this season.
On Sunday, the Eagles took a short trip from Chapel Hill to Raleigh to take on North Carolina State. NC State’s defense was on display early, blocking several potential BC kills early, but the Wolfpack also put several balls away off kills to go up 10-3. The Eagles killed two consecutive hits, but then gave NC State the ball right back after a service error. BC called a timeout down 14-5, but still could not find a way to stop the offensive attack of the Wolfpack, or find a way around the unified defensive front that NC State showcased. The Wolfpack won the first set 25-14.
The second set began much closer, with both teams trading points. BC had a slight advantage at 7-5, but the Wolfpack hung around and kept up with the Eagles before tying the set at 10-10. NC State went on a 5-2 run to jump out to a three-point lead. BC kept it interesting, scoring on a block that the Wolfpack could not return, and then a kill before serving a ball out of bounds to give NC State a two point lead and the ball. The Wolfpack kept a narrow lead through the rest of the set before three consecutive errors out of bounds by BC gave NC State a 25-21 set win.
During the third set, kills by Jill Strockis, Sol Calvete, and Sophia West gave BC a 9-5 lead, its largest lead of the match. The Eagles stretched out their lead to 15-9. The Wolfpack got a point back, but a great kick save by Anna Skold on a ball that seemed out of reach kept the point alive, and lead to an eventual NC State error. The BC lead ballooned out to 20-11, and while NC State came back toward the end of the set, the Eagles won the third set comfortably 25-19.
The fourth set began almost identically to the third set, with the Eagles, led by Strockis, West, and Calvete, jumping out to a 9-5 lead. NC State refused to fall too far behind, and came storming back to make it a one-point game after its 11th block of the game. The rest of the set was back and forth, as both teams fought to keep their slim leads. NC State went up 22-20 after a BC error. The teams were tied at 23 when a disputed blocking error gave the Wolfpack a match point that the Eagles quickly saved. NC State gained another match point after a kill, and a BC error gave the Wolfpack the match.
On Friday, the Eagles traveled to North Carolina to face off against the Tar Heels, a team that was voted the overwhelming preseason favorite to win the ACC. UNC currently is in first place, while BC has not found its footing in the conference. Despite this, the Eagles played the Tar Heels tough during the first set. UNC raced out to a 12-1 lead, winning the first eight points of the match. This might have discouraged another team, but the Eagles showed impressive grit and heart to battle back. First, the Eagles used a 5-0 run to cut the Tar Heels lead in half, and then a 13-6 run to take the lead at 19-18 after consecutive kills from Strockis and Calvete. UNC would not be contained for too long, though, and came back strong to win the last seven points of the set and take it 25-19.
The Tar Heels came out and won the first five points of the second set on the way to an early 9-2 lead. Another big run from UNC led to a 17-4, and the Tar Heels then cruised to a 25-10 set win. While the Eagles only made five errors during the set, UNC made zero errors, and had 17 kills to BC’s 7. This lead to a big disparity in hitting percentage, with the Tar Heels sitting at .607 and the Eagles at .080.
The last time the Eagles faced the Tar Heels, BC came back from a two-set deficit and forced UNC to a decisive fifth set. The Eagles were hoping for a repeat of this as the third set began with both teams putting away points on kills. UNC began an 8-2 run off of a kill, and two consecutive errors from BC. The Eagles called a timeout at 17-7 to try and calm the momentum of the Tar Heels, and while they were able to win a few points back, UNC ultimately won the third set 25-14 to cap off a relatively easy win. This was the 11th straight loss for BC, and its ninth ACC loss, and the Eagles will need to turn it around quickly if they hope to stay competitive in the ACC.
Featured Image by Taylor Perison / Heights Staff