CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — The Notre Dame volleyball team opened its ACC schedule with a thrilling win against the North Carolina Tar Heels on Friday night. After dominating the first set, with a final score of 25-11 and three scoring runs of five points or more, Notre Dame and North Carolina battled it out for the remaining two sets that included nine lead changes and 23 ties before the Irish earned the victory.
Freshman Sydney Bent led the Irish in kills on the night, finishing with 15 and a kill percentage of .419. The team leader in kills this season, junior Jemma Yeadon, finished just behind Bent with 14 for a .364 percentage. The pair accounted for 29 of Notre Dame’s 43 total kills through three sets against UNC.
Senior Ryann DeJarld recorded her 200th dig of the season, posting 16 to bring her 2018 total to 211. She now boasts 2,019 career digs for the Irish.
Senior Meg Morningstar and freshman Zoe Nunez both posted an ace in the match while Nunez also tallied a team-high 36 assists.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The first set was all Irish as they jumped out to an early 7-0 start featuring three kills from Jemma Yeadon and two from Sydney Bent. The Tar Heels called their first timeout while Notre Dame led 8-1 before North Carolina made a comeback, pulling the game within three points.
The remainder of the set went to the Irish as they went on a 10-2 run, making the score 20-7. Fighting to reach double digits, the Tar Heels managed just four more points in the first set, finishing with the Irish on top 25-11.
In the first set, Notre Dame had three scoring runs of five or more points, including the 7-0 start to the game.
The second set was a battle from start to finish. After starting out 2-1, the scoring remained mostly level for the first half of the set. The set was knotted all the way up to 10 before the Irish pulled ahead 12-10.
Notre Dame maintained the lead for the remainder of the set but North Carolina was not easy to break away from. Nipping at the Irish heels after they went up 16-11, the Tar Heels stormed back, bringing the score within two, forcing the Irish to call their first timeout. It was all Notre Dame following the timeout, as the Irish went on to tally nine of the next 15 points to win their second set of the evening, 25-20.
In a thrilling finish, the Irish defeated the Tar Heels 25-22. The set included a game-high 13 ties as neither team wanted back down. North Carolina led for the majority of the third set before the Irish called a timeout and all the momentum swung their way.
Taking an early lead, Notre Dame went up 2-0 before North Carolina came back to go up 6-4. The Irish regained the lead after tying it up at 12, going on to take a 15-13 lead. The rest of the set seemed to go in the Tar Heels’ favor as they looked to force a fourth set, but Notre Dame took control late in the third, taking a 23-22 lead and never looking back.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH
Sydney Bent, who led the team in kills and posted the highest kill percentage of the match, was named player of the match. The freshman, recording a career-high 15 kills on the evening, has now tallied double-digit kills in each of her last two games (13 and 15) bringing her career total to 39.
Bent also recorded a career best in blocks assisted with four, good for second on the team against the Tar Heels.
The Irish conclude their road trip in North Carolina on Sunday when they take on the Wolfpack of North Carolina State. That match is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. ET and will air on ACC Network Extra.