A high UNC spike thundered into the Boston College backcourt. Sol Calvete twisted her body quickly, attempting to control the hit in any way possible, but all she could manage to do was hit it with her fist, and the ball flew out of bounds.
The scoreboard flashed 25 points for UNC, and just like that, the No. 8 Tar Heels defeated the Eagles in three sets on Friday night at the Power Gym.
The UNC strength, dynamism, height, and concentration proved too much for BC to handle—even though the Eagles began each set looking sharp and strong. They stuck with the Tar Heels, and even led for a while, thanks in part to composed defense and the heroics of Katty Workman. Workman posted six of the 16 total team kills in the first set, and she even provided an ace. Her hitting on the outside was too much for the Tar Heels to handle, as BC led UNC for a majority of the first half of this set.
“[Workman] worked really hard the last two weeks on her decision-making attacking … She did a really nice job of mixing up her swings,” said head coach Chris Campbell. “She also touched a lot on the block, did a good job there, and did a nice job on the service line. She did an all around good match, and we need that from her.”
With the set tied at 13, a net violation on middle hitter Kam McLain began a poor run for the Eagles.
Campbell called a timeout when the score line reached 13-18, and despite a return to normal play, the Eagles were unable to fill that five-point gap as the set ended 25-20 in favor of Carolina.
“We were capable of playing with them for long stretches,” Campbell said. “What shows up, as a general weakness, is we just can’t concentrate for quite as long as they can. So, there would be one play here or there, that was an easy play to make, that we would just space out on. And it would take us three or four points to recover.”
This trend carried into the second set, as BC held the advantage until point 12. McLain and Julia Topor were integral to the Eagles’ lead. McLain was a force in the middle, having two block assists and one solo block, while Topor had four kills.
After point 12, it was all UNC. Middle hitters Paige Neuenfeldt, Victoria McPherson, and Hayley McCorkle proved too much to handle for the Eagles. Among the three of them, they recorded nine kills and six assisted blocks.
The set ended with a McPherson blast into the middle of the Eagle’s court, at 25-18.
Campbell noted the quality of the players on the Tar Heels side. “That’s how you become a top-10 team,” he said. “You’ve got lots of weapons.”
Campbell said that their ability to create non-scripted plays was one of the difference makers in this match, as it threw the Eagles off guard.
The third set saw the Eagles maintain the highest hitting percentage that they had all match, but they were unable to translate that into a lead. BC trailed for the majority of the set.
Workman, McLain, and Anna Skold provided some valuable offense for the Eagles, but UNC’s attack continued to reign supreme.
With the set at 19-23, UNC was bent on winning. Topor and Skold had a series of two strong blocks in a row, but they left UNC unfazed, as UNC closed out that point.
The match ended as it began, with the Tar Heels winning 25-20.
Featured Image by Arthur Bailin / Heights Staff