#7 UCLA upsets #10 North Carolina in Sweet 16; Will Face #2 Minnesota

  0 Kaitlynn Bianconi | December 10th, 2016 | ACC, College - Women's Indoor, News, Pac 12


In a stunning 4-set upset, the No. 10 UCLA Bruins volleyball team knocked the No. 7 North Carolina Tar Heels out of the NCAA Tournament late Friday night.

In what turned out to be a close game, the Bruins lost the first set by just two points. However they turned it around and were able to rally against the Tar Heels to claim the next two sets with 3 and 2-point leads, respectively. The fourth set was the true test of the match, with North Carolina clinging on to the game until the Bruins were able to scrape together two points to win the set 28-26.

UCLA junior Reily Buechler had a new career-high 24 digs. Both Bruins setters had doubles-doubles, with Ryann Chandler earning 32 assists and 12 digs, and Kylie Miller tallying 29 assists and 11 digs.

UCLA will advance to the Elite 8 with this victory, and will face No. 2 Minnesota Saturday night at 9 p.m. in Minnesota for the quarterfinals round. The winner of that match will advance to the semifinals.


Courtesy of UCLA Athletics

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Junior Reily Buechler had a career-high 24 digs to go with a team-best 19 kills, as the 10th-seeded Bruins knocked off #7 North Carolina in four sets on Friday night at The Sports Pavilion to advance to Saturday’s Regional Final. Set scores were 23-25, 25-22, 25-23, 28-26.

The Bruins (27-6) will take on #2-seed Minnesota at 9 p.m. CT/7 p.m. PT. The match will air on ESPNU. North Carolina ends its season at 29-4.

Both UCLA setters also had double-doubles, as senior Ryann Chandler notched 32 assists and 12 digs and freshman Kylie Miller posted 29 assists and 11 digs, setting the Bruins to a .267 percentage. The UCLA senior middles had an outstanding match, with Claire Felix registering 15 kills and a .481 percentage and Jennie Frageradding 11 kills and no errors in 21 attempts (.524). Senior Taylor Formicohad 24 digs and seven assists, senior Jordan Anderson added 15 kills and five digs, freshman Torrey Van Winden recorded 17 digs and eight kills and senior Haley Lawless tallied six kills.

The Bruins led for most of the opening set, but a late run for the Tar Heels gave them the first. Even at four, UCLA scored five of six on two Felix kills, one apiece by Van Winden and Formico and a UNC error to go ahead 9-5. The Tar Heels would come back to tie the score at 13. Equal at 15, a 5-1 UCLA run on two kills each by Buechler and Lawless and one from Anderson gave the Bruins another set-best lead of four at 20-16. UCLA led by three at 22-19 before North Carolina tallied six of the last seven points to take it 25-23. Buechler was error-free with six kills in 10 attempts, Felix had no miscues with five kills in seven swings and Lawless added three kills and no errors in four attempts. Formico had five digs, while Chandler, Miller and Van Winden each notched four digs. The Bruins were out-hit .333 to .302.

North Carolina had four one-point leads in the second set, but UCLA came on strong late to even things going into intermission. Trailing 15-14, the Bruins scored three in a row on a Felix kill, a Van Winden solo block and a Felix/Lawless roof to make it 17-15. North Carolina netted the next two, but kills by Lawless and Anderson gave UCLA the lead back for good. After a UNC sideout, an Anderson kill, a Tar Heel error and a Frager kill put the Bruins up by a set-best three at 22-18. UNC shaved its deficit to one at 23-22, but a Buechler kill and an ace from sophomore Zana Muno gave the Bruins a 25-22 win. The second set featured 13 ties and seven lead changes. Anderson had four kills, Buechler added four kills and seven digs and Formico posted nine digs, as the Bruins out-hit the Tar Heels .140 to .111.

Despite some tenuous moments at the end of the third set, the Bruins never trailed in taking a 2-1 match lead. UCLA reeled off the first five points on two kills apiece by Anderson and Buechler and a UNC error. Up 13-10, a 4-0 run on kills by Frager, Buechler and Felix and a Miller ace extended the lead to a set-best seven at 17-10. North Carolina slowly clawed its way back. Down 21-17, the Tar Heels recorded six of the next eight to even things at 23. But a Buechler kill and a Miller ace closed out the 25-23 victory. Buechler had five kills and nine digs, while Anderson, Felix and Frager each added four kills. The Bruins were out-hit .318 to .298.

Set four featured 14 ties and three lead changes. North Carolina took an early 8-5 lead before the Bruins scored four of five on two Van Winden kills, a Felix kill and a Buechler/Lawless roof to even things at nine. The Tar Heels again went ahead at 13-10, but a Frager kill, a Buechler solo stuff and a UNC error made it 13-all. North Carolina‘s last lead was at 16-15, as four in a row by the Bruins on Buechler, Felix and Van Winden kills and a UNC error gave UCLA a 19-16 edge. Despite many more ties, the Tar Heels didn’t have the lead for the rest of the match. At 23-all, an Anderson kill gave the Bruins their first match point, but it was saved. A Frager kill made it 25-24, but UNC dodged another match point. A Felix kill gave the Bruins a third match point, but it was saved again. A Van Winden kill earned UCLA a fourth match point and Anderson ended the festivities with a kill to win it 28-26. Felix was error-free and 5-for-9 in kill attempts, Van Winden added five kills and eight digs, Anderson had five kills and Buechler posted four kills and six digs. Formico recorded seven digs, Chandler added four and Frager had three kills, as the Bruins out-hit the Tar Heels .310 to .220.


Courtesy of North Carolina Athletics

MINNEAPOLIS – Seventh-seeded North Carolina volleyball saw its season come to an end on Friday night, as #10-seed UCLA outlasted the Tar Heels in a hard-fought battle, 3-1 (25-23, 22-25, 23-25, 26-28). The loss was just the fourth of the year for UNC, as Carolina’s memorable season came to an end in the NCAA Regional Semifinal with a final record of 29-4. The Bruins (27-6) advanced to the NCAA Regional Final for the first time since winning the National Championship in 2011 and will face host #2-seed Minnesota on Saturday.

Redshirt sophomore Taylor Leath led the Tar Heels on both sides of the court, registering her 10th double-double of the season and third 20-kill match with a match-leading 20 kills to go with 16 digs. Freshman Julia Scoles ended her rookie campaign with her 10th double-double, posting 12 kills and 15 digs while adding four blocks. Fifth-year senior Taylor Treacy put up 10 kills in the last match of her career, eight of which came over the final two sets, while classmate Hayley McCorkle tallied nine.

Setters Abigail Curry and Mariah Evans dished out nearly-identical assists, as Evans finished her first season with personal bests of 27 assists and 12 digs—her third double-double of the year—while Curry closed her career with 26 assists, six digs and an ace.

Senior libero Sheila Doyle led four Tar Heels in double figures with 23 digs. It marked the team co-captain’s 21st career 20-dig performance and 11th of the season.

Carolina’s blockers finished the season with their 22nd double-digit blocking match of the season, out-blocking the Bruins 14.0-6.0. Sydnye Fields, making her first appearance since sustaining an injury at the end of October, matched Beth Nordhorn and Taylor Treacy with five blocks apiece. Scoles and Taylor Fricano followed with four, and McCorkle put up three.

UCLA pulled ahead 9-5 early, but back-to-back blocks by Nordhorn and Treacy tied the score at 13. Two straight kills by Haley Lawless pushed the Bruins back in front, 20-16, forcing Sagula to take his first timeout. Carolina came back to score two straight, but a kill by Claire Felix led to another timeout, 22-19. Two kills by Leath tied the score at 22, then a block by Fields and Treacy put UNC on top 23-22. Felix slammed another kill, but Treacy followed with a kill to make it set point, and Doyle followed with a perfect serve to win the opener on an ace, 25-23.

The second set was close throughout, with neither team leading by more than three at any time. A block by Fricano and Scoles put UNC on top, 18-17, but UCLA replied with three straight to pull ahead, 22-19, once again. Scoles struck a kill on the next play, and an ace by Greer Moseman cut the deficit to one, 23-22, but Carolina was unable to pull any closer, and a lucky serve by Zana Muno hit the net and crept over for an ace, as UCLA tied the match with a 25-22 decision in set two.

The Bruins raced ahead 5-0 to start the third set then extended it to 17-10 on an ace by Kylie Miller. Carolina did not back down, exploding out of a timeout to win four straight, including back-to-back kills by Treacy which cut the deficit to three, 17-14. Finding themselves in a familiar situation, once again trailing 22-19, the Tar Heels continued to fight, as two straight kills by Leath tied the score at 23. However, a kill by Reily Buechler put the ball in Miller’s hands, and the setter served up her second ace of the set to win the third, 25-23, and give UCLA a 2-1 match lead.

It was Carolina that had the early edge in the fourth set, pulling ahead 8-5 on an ace by Leath. UCLA tied it at nine, but the Tar Heels pushed right back ahead, 12-9, on an ace by Curry. The Bruins fought back once again to tie the score at 13 then used the momentum to march in front, 19-17. A block by Fields and Scoles tied the score at 20, but consecutive kills by Jordan Anderson made it 22-20 UCLA. Another block by Fields tied the score at 22, a kill by Leath knotted it again at 23.

Anderson struck a kill to make it UCLA match point, but a tip by Leath tied the score at 24. A block by Fricano and McCorkle—Fricano’s record-tying 142nd of the season—wiped off yet another match point, tying it at 25. Scoles slammed a kill to tie the score at 26, but Carolina was unable to take the lead, and senior Anderson finished off the match for the Bruins with her 15th kill of the night to win the fourth, 28-26, and send UCLA to the Regional Finals.

The 2016 Tar Heels left their mark in the record books this season, earning the highest AVCA (6) and RPI (5) ranks in program history, matching their best seed for the NCAA Tournament (7), winning their ACC-record 13th conference title, and punching their ticket to their third NCAA Regional.

As a team, Carolina shattered the single-match and single-season records for block assists, posting a total of 661 block assists on the year which surpasses the previous record set in 2014 by a whopping 62 stuffs. The 2016 Tar Heels put up the fourth-most total blocks (373.5), a rally-scoring record, as well as the fourth-highest blocks per set average (2.99).

Carolina’s defense held attackers to just .165 hitting, while posting the second-highest hitting percentage in program history at .273.

Individually, Taylor Fricano tied a 16-year-old single-season record with her 142nd block assist late in the fourth set. The right side-turned-middle hitter finished the year with a total of 158 blocks, averaging 1.34. Redshirt freshman Sydnye Fields, who broke a 30-year-old single-match record for block assists early in the season, finished the year with an average of 1.38 blocks per set, which ranks ninth all time at UNC and second among Tar Heel freshmen.

Senior Abigail Curry, who played in an unprecedented 460 consecutive sets, finished her spectacular career ranked eighth at UNC with 2,816 assists, averaging 6.12 per set. The Plano, Texas, native ranks ninth all time with 128 career matches played and appeared in every single set of her four-year career.

With 23 digs on Friday night, Sheila Doyle jumped up two spots into fifth with a total of 584 digs on the season and ranks seventh all time with a single-season average of 4.67 digs per set. Despite not becoming Carolina’s libero until partway through her junior year, Doyle finished her career ranked fourth all time with a career average of 3.54 digs per set, totaling 1,027.

Taylor Treacy slammed her 300th career block in the match and finishes her career ranked 10th all time with 287 block assists. She totaled 674 kills for her career, while classmate Hayley McCorkle finishes with 463 kills and 181 blocks.



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