- Auburn def. #15 North Carolina 3-1 (25-23, 25-22, 25-27, 25-21)
- Auburn moves to 4-1; North Carolina drops to 0-3
- Bayamon, Puerto Rico
- ACC/SEC Puerto Rico Classic
- Box Score
BAYAMON, PUERTO RICO – Auburn used a balanced offensive attack, with five players posting nine or more kills, to upset No. 15 North Carolina (AVCA 16) on Saturday evening.
Senior outside hitter Macy Reece (13), sophomore middle blocker Shaina White (11), junior outside Brenna McIlroy (9), sophomore middle Gwyn Jones (9) and freshman middle Anna Stevenson (9) made up the group. White hit at a team-best .333 clip, while Stevenson put up at a team-leading four blocks. Jones and senior setter Alexa Filley added three blocks apiece. Senior libero Jesse Earl paced the Tigers in the backcourt with 20 digs, while McIlroy (14) and freshman defensive specialist Payton White (14) followed. Sophomore defensive specialist Karis Beasley served up three of the team’s four aces.
The Tigers delivered five more kills (55-50) and outhit the TarHeels .207 to .150 to make up for a 5-4 deficit in aces and 9-6 margin in blocks.
Senior middle Beth Nordhorn and redshirt junior outside Taylor Leath paced UNC with 12 kills apiece, but with very different efficiencies. Nordhorn hit at a team-best .417 clip and managed three blocks. Leath hit -.020 committing more errors (13) than kills, but did help the team with a double double, adding 13 digs to her kill total. Sophomore outside Taylor Borup followed with 10 putaways. Sophomore libero Mia Fradenburg pulled up a team-best 24 digs and served up a team-leading two aces. Rounding out a group of four players with double-digit dig totals were freshman defensive specialists Maddie Grace Hough (11) and Sehrena Hull (10).
Auburn snapped a 6-all tie in Set 1 with three-straight points. The Tigers held UNC at bay, using another 3-0 run, capped by a Beasley ace, to stretch the margin to five at 18-13. The TarHeels would not go down easy, turning a 22-17 deficit into a 23-all tie with a 6-1 run. Three kills, a block and a Sydnye Fields ace helped UNC erase the point margin. Reece and Stevenson kept North Carolina from completing the comeback with a pair of kills.
Set 2 featured 17 ties, the first at 1-1 and the last at 22-all. Midway through the teams were knotted at 14-all. UNC gained a 16-14 edge with a Nordhorn kill and Auburn miscue. The teams tied at 17 and traded points over the next 11 serves leadin gto the 22-all tie. The Tigers grabbed its first lead since 6-5 at 23-22 on a Tar Heel service error and stole away the set with help from a UNC hitting error and Jones putaway.
The teams split the first 16 point of Set 3. Auburn scored seven of the next 10 points to go up 15-11. Kills from four different players, including two by White, coupled with a block and UNC miscues accounted for the advantage. North Carolina pulled within one at 18-17 and again at 23-22. A Reece kill put Auburn on the hill at 24-22. A pair of Nordhorn kills saved Tiger match point chances and knotted the score at 24. Auburn had another try at 25-24 after a UNC hitting error. A Nordhorn putaway saved that match point, then a Leath ace and Holly Carlton kill won the set 27-25 for the TarHeels and extended the match.
A 6-0 run turned a 5-all tie into an 11-5 Auburn lead in Set 3. Three UNC errors and a block and kill by Stevenson aided in the rally. The Tigers upped their advantage to seven at 16-9, but UNC scored three in a row to narrow the gap to four on a Carlton ace. Auburn scored five of the next six to increase its lead to eight at 21-13 as the Tar Heels gave away four points on errors. A Reece kill gave Auburn its fourth match point attempt of the night, but it would take three more tries to finish the job. UNC thwarted the first three chances with a service error and two blocks, but committed a serving miscue of its own to close out the loss.
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