The North Carolina volleyball team clinched its first ACC championship since 2008 on Friday afternoon with a 3-0 sweep over Wake Forest.
The victory (25-18, 25-23, 25-22) capped an emotional afternoon, as North Carolina honored its four seniors before the match. Starters Chaney LaReau, Lauren McAdoo, Chaniel Nelson and Ece Taner contributed to the victory that moved the senior class record to 103-22 during their four years so far in Chapel Hill.
“What a great way to celebrate senior day, and to honor those four seniors,” Head Coach Joe Sagula said. “Winning a championship is special, and it doesn’t happen very often. It took a lot of different things coming together for us, and I am so proud of the team.”
Outside hitter Lauren McAdoo led the Tar Heels with 11 kills and five digs on a .526 hitting percentage. Nelson added 13 kills and two blocks against the Demon Deacons.
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In set one, McAdoo poured in six kills on only nine attempts to lead the Tar Heels. Setters Abigail Curry and Jordyn Schnabl combined for 11 assists in the set as Carolina knocked down 16 kills as a team with a .464 hitting percentage.
The first frame was tied until the serve of Taner helped Carolina gain a two-point lead at 12-10. McAdoo knocked down a kill to extend the lead to three at 20-17 and force a timeout from Wake Forest.
UNC then finished set one 25-18 with a block by Paige Neuenfeldt and Taylor Treacy.
After a strong finish to set one, Carolina started set two slowly as the Demon Deacons built a 7-3 lead after a UNC error. A three-point run on the serve of Curry, capped by a block from Neuenfeldt and Hayley McCorkle, tied the second frame at 13-13.
Carolina broke the tie at 22-22 with a kill from McCorkle and then an error from Wake Forest to give Carolina set points at 24-22. Leigh Andrew then knocked down a kill to secure set two, 25-23 for North Carolina.
The Tar Heels cruised out of the gate in set three, pounding 18 team kills on a .500 attack percentage in the set. Nelson poured in five kills in the final frame and ended the match with a kill to give Carolina the third game, 25-22, and the match.
East Carolina: The volleyball team received a strong performance from senior setter Zarah Cecich as she hit a match-high .667, but it was not enough as the Pirates dropped a 3-0 (17-25, 7-25, 18-25) contest Friday to SMU. With the loss, ECU falls to 15-15 on the year and 6-13 in the American Conference. The Mustangs improve to 26-6 (15-5 American) overall.
The Pirates finished the match hitting .088 as the Mustangs limited the ECU offense to 22 kills in the contest. SMU turned in a solid effort with 46 kills while posting a .394 attack percentage to keep the Pirates at a distance. SMU held the edge in assists (44 to 19), digs (48 to 37), blocks (4.0 to 2.0) and service aces (6 to 4), but East Carolina continued to play its game as all players saw action for the Pirates.
“SMU is a very good team,” Head coach Julie Torbett said. “They were playing with a lot of purpose today.
Duke: Sophomore Peter Kropp earned additional recognition for his performances at last weekend’s Janis Hape Dowd Nike Cup Invitational, collecting Ronald McDonald House Charities Duke Student-Athlete of the Week recognition after also being selected ACC Male Swimmer of the Week.
Kropp, a Los Angeles native, secured a trip to the 2015 NCAA Division I Men’s Swimming and Diving Championship next spring in Iowa City, Iowa with a 52.02 swim in the 100-yard breaststroke preliminaries. The mark also broke the ACC record of 52.59 set by Notre Dame’s Zach Stephens last year and surpassed program, meet and facility benchmarks as well.
Kropp clocked 1:56.73 in the 200 breaststroke preliminaries for the nation’s 11th-fastest time and competed on a pair of Blue Devil relays at the Nike Cup Invitational.