North Carolina Welcomes NCAA Record Crowd of 19,246

  0 Wendy Mayer | October 13th, 2017 | ACC, College - Women's Indoor, News


  • North Carolina def. Virginia Tech 3-1 (22-25, 25-21, 25-20, 25-16)
  • North Carolina moves to 8-7, 5-2 ACC; Virginia Tech falls to 7-11, 1-6 ACC
  • Chapel Hill, North Carolina
  • Attendance: 19,246
  • Box Score


CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – With the unveiling of the 2017 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship banner highlighting Late Night with Roy, the kick off for the 2017-18 basketball season, the North Carolina volleyball team played in front of an NCAA record 19,246 fans on Friday night.

The crowd snaps the previous high-water mark of 17,651 at the 2015 NCAA Championship match between Nebraska and Texas in Omaha, Nebraska. Prior to that, the Tarheels boasted a record 16,126 fans at Late Night with Roy back in 2003, a mark only bested in postseason play.

“It was just awesome to play in the Dean Dome, to win and to make Carolina fans and Tar Heels proud,” redshirt junior outside hitter Taylor Leath said. “There are very few words for it. It’s definitely different, the space is different, the balls move differently. I think today is a great day to be a Tar Heel just like every other day. It was great to have so much support and so many fans out there. All the cheers—it made me proud to put this jersey on.”

The victory saw the TarHeels hit at a .306 clip and best Virginia Tech in aces (8-5) and blocks (8-4). The Hokies tallied one more kill (53-52).

Three UNC players notched double-digit kill efforts, with each hitting .333 or better. Leath downed a match-high 17 kills, while hitting at a .382 clip and serving up five of the team’s eight aces. redshirt freshman opposite Holly Carlton (14) and senior middle Beth Nordhorn (10) followed. Nordhorn posted a team-best .500 clip, while redshirt junior middle Taylor Fricano put up a team-leading five blocks. Junior libero Casey Jacobs held down the backcourt with 16 digs.

Freshman outside Kaity Smith put down a match-high 19 kills for Virginia Tech, while junior right side Jaila Tolbert (11) and freshman outside Ester Talamazzi (11) also posted double-digit efforts. Talamazzi rounded out a double-double with a team-leading 15 digs, while sophomore libero Carol Raffety added 11 saves. Smith just missed a double-double with nine digs.

Virginia Tech nabbed the first set, turning a 12-9 deficit into a 21-14 lead with four kills each by Tolbert and Talamazzi. UNC cut the margin to two at 24-22, but a block by Smith and Kai Young sealed the Hokie win.

Set 2 saw the teams tied at 9-all before the Tar Heels pulled away with a 9-4 run. Four VT miscues and kills by Nordhorn and Leath lifted UNC to the 18-13 advantage. Up just two at 19-17, North Carolina scored five of the next seven to earn a set-point try at 24-19. Leath managed her fifth kill of the set to close out the 25-21 win.

UNC broke up a 7-all tie with a 14-4 rally in Set 3. Seven errors helped the Tar Heel cause and Carlton also added four kills in the run. Virginia Tech slowed North Carolina with a 6-2 run of its own, incluidng two kills and an ace by Smith, but a block by Madison Laufenberg and Carlton made it 24-17. A Nordhorn kill four points later sealed the victory.

The Tar Heels jumped out to a 14-5 lead in Set 4. Five Leath kills lifted UNC to the advantage. The Hokies were within two at 14-12 as Smith downed four kills. Leath notched two kills and two blocks to push the margin to eight at 20-12. The outside hitter clinched the four-set win at 25-16 with a kill and an ace.



Courtesy: North Carolina Athletics

North Carolina volleyball kicked off the annual Late Night with Roy event on Friday night, defeating Virginia Tech, 3-1 (22-25, 25-21, 25-20, 25-16). The Heels played in front of a five-figure crowd at the storied Dean E. Smith Center as part of the preseason basketball festivities which culminated in the unveiling of the 2017 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship banner. After making eight hitting errors in the first set, Carolina’s offense limited itself to just seven over the next three sets to finish the match with a season-high .306 attack percentage. With the win, Carolina moves above .500 for the first time at 8-7 (5-2 ACC), while Virginia Tech falls to 7-11 (1-6 ACC).

“It was just awesome to play in the Dean Dome, to win and to make Carolina fans and Tar Heels proud,” said outside hitter Taylor Leath, who led the Tar Heels in kills and aces on Friday. “There are very few words for it. It’s definitely different, the space is different, the balls move differently. I think today is a great day to be a Tar Heel just like every other day. It was great to have so much support and so many fans out there. All the cheers—it made me proud to put this jersey on.”

The Tar Heels played at the Smith Center for the 36th time in program history, opening Late Night with Roy for the seventh time since setting an NCAA Volleyball attendance record at the first event in 2003. Friday night’s win preserved the Heels’ perfect record at Late Night, as the Heels are now 7-0 with their sixth crowd exceeding 10,000 fans.

“Without question, to walk in here and before you even enter in the building, two hours before the match, people are already showing up,” said head coach Joe Sagula. “Now, we’re realists here. They’re not only here to see us, but it gives you a thrill to walk out when there’s already about 8,000 people in the stands. There were a lot of people here that didn’t know the game. I could tell that they appreciated that type of athletic move and the power behind that. I think that inspires the people who don’t know the game to appreciate it and then they get thrilled. I think everybody wants to play here and play in front of this type of crowd to show what a great sport we have and what we have going on here at Carolina.”

Leath led the Tar Heels with 17 kills in the match, hitting .385, with a career-high five service aces. Redshirt freshman Holly Carlton registered her eighth double-double season with a career-high 14 kills to go with 15 assists. Beth Nordhorn was the third Tar Heel in double digits, tallying 10 kills and just a single error to hit .500 on the night, and Taylor Borup followed with eight slams.

Kendra Koetter led the Tar Heels in assists with 23, sending a good portion of those towards fellow-setter Carlton. Libero Casey Jacobs finished the night with a match-high 16 digs, while Leath just missed a double-double with nine. Greer Moseman provided a boost in the back row, putting up seven digs and two aces.

“I think (Greer) comes in with a lot of talk, a lot of confidence and she holds to the left-back position really well,” said Sagula. “She’s a scrappy left-back defender. When we’re struggling and she plays like that, it gives the team a lift. She can make a great save and keep us in a set. She’s willing to throw her body around and make some defensive plays and she adds good energy.”

Carolina’s double-digit blocking streak ended at 11 on Friday night, but UNC still out-blocked the Hokies, 8.5 to 4.0. Taylor Fricano led the charge with five stuffs, followed by three each from Carlton and Katharine Esterley.

“I have to say, I applaud a lot of the players who fought through things tonight,” said Sagula. “Stomach viruses and things like that. Three players tonight didn’t practice yesterday. I think we had eight people on the court to practice just for health reasons. You name it, we’ve had it.”

North Carolina led 12-9 off a kill by Carlton, but a service error put the ball in the hands of Rhegan Mitchell, who served up a 5-0 run to put the Hokies on top, 14-12. Virginia Tech continued to roll, pushing ahead 21-14 to force a Carolina timeout. UNC stormed out of the timeout to win five out of six and soon cut the deficit to two, 24-22, but a block by Kaity Smith and Kai Young secured the first set for the Hokies, 25-22.

Carolina pulled ahead 7-4 early in the second set on Leath’s third ace of the match. The Hokies tied the score at nine, but an Esterley block and a Moseman ace helped UNC go right back in front, 12-9. Carolina extended the lead to 18-13 then reached set point, 24-19, on a kill by Carlton. VT wiped off two attempts, but Leath finished it off with a kill as UNC evened the match with a 25-21 win in the second.

After a service ace by Mitchell tied the score 7-7, Carolina raced ahead with an 8-1 run to make it 15-8. UNC continued to cruise, as a kill by Borup made it 19-10. Virginia Tech chipped away at the deficit, pulling as close as four, 24-20, but a kill by Nordhorn ended the third, 25-20. Carlton propelled the Heels with eight kills in the set to reach a double-double.

The Tar Heels raced out to a 13-4 lead to open the fourth set, but Virginia Tech used a 7-0 run to cut the deficit to two, 14-12. However, Carolina followed with a 6-0 run to race right back in front, 20-12 on two blocks then two kills by Leath. Leath’s 17th kill of night set up match point, then the team captain sealed the victory with her fifth service ace to win the fourth set, 25-16, and take the match 3-1.

“I’m really happy at how we got better in the match,” said Sagula. “Without question, that seems to be our MO of the season—from the way we start to the way we finish, we get better and better.”

North Carolina’s homestand continues on Saturday, Oct. 14, with a visit from Virginia. The Tar Heels return to Carmichael Arena for the ACC matchup with the Cavaliers at 5:30 p.m.


Courtesy: Virginia Tech Athletics

In front of a record crowd of 19,246, the most in NCAA volleyball history, three Virginia Tech volleyball players tallied 10-plus kills, but it was not enough as preseason ACC favorite North Carolina won, 3-1, inside the Smith Center Friday evening.

The trio, made up of Kaity Smith (19 kills), Ester Talamazzi (11) and Jaila Tolbert (11), combined for 41 of Tech’s (7-11, 1-6 ACC) 53 kills on the night versus the Tar Heels (8-7, 5-2 ACC).

Starting the match on the right foot, the Hokies earned the early advantage, 6-5, before a North Carolina timeout. Out of the break, play would go back and forth with each team scoring eight points to make it 14-13, and then Tech got hot and went on a 7-1 run, forcing another UNC timeout. With the score at 21-14, Carolina would make a run of its own cutting the Hokies’ lead to two, 24-22, but the freshmen pair of Kai Young and Smith rose to the occasion and blocked a Tar Heel to claim the first set, 25-22.

After a Carol Raffety ace and a Talamazzi kill to bring the score to 8-all, Carolina would go on a 7-3 run before a media timeout. UNC would continue scoring to make its lead 18-13, however, Smith rattled off three-straight kills to cut the deficit to two. The two-point differential at 18-16 would be the closest Tech could trim it as the Tar Heels went on to win the second stanza, 25-21.

Knotted at 7-7 to begin the third frame following a Rhegan Mitchell ace, UNC would score six of the next seven points, causing a Tech timeout. The Tar Heels would keep the momentum after the pause in action, pushing its lead to 19-10, forcing Tech to burn another timeout. Head coach Jill Wilson’s squad went on a 7-4 run to make Carolina call a timeout at 23-17, but UNC scored two more to win 25-20.

In the final frame, the Tar Heels jumped out to a 7-2 lead, then a 14-5 lead. The Hokies did dig deep though, scoring seven consecutive points to cut it to a two-point deficit behind four kills in a row from Smith. UNC responded with scoring four-straight to make it 18-12 and the lead would be too much for the Hokies as they fell 25-16 in the fourth set.


– Smith recorded 19 kills on the night, marking her most since Sept. 9 against Toledo. The outside hitter hit. 302, which is the fourth time this fall she has hit over .300.

– Mitchell dished out 43 assists, her third-straight 40-plus match, and posted eight digs and a kill. The Georgia native has had at least one kill in four out of her last five matches.

– Talamazzi turned in her sixth double-double of the year, racking up 11 kills and 15 digs.

– Young followed up her best match of the season (career highs – four kills, three blocks) against Notre Dame with another strong performance, chipping in two kills and tying a career-high three blocks.

– Tolbert hit north of .400 for the third match in a row, which was the best hitting percentage on the team tonight (.421). The junior put down 11 kills and had two blocks.

– Raffety recorded her 10th-straight match of 10-plus digs, recording 11 to move her season total to 256.

– Redshirt senior Stacey Christy hit .333 on her way to seven kills. The Maryland native has posted 18 kills in her last three matches at the middle blocker spot.

– Defensive specialist Rhana Mitchell scooped up a season-high six digs, topping her previous mark of three against Milwaukee on Aug. 26.


– Similar to the Florida State match on Sept. 24, the Hokies outplayed their opponent in three major categories statistically, despite taking a loss. Tech earned 53 kills, 50 assists and 50 digs compared to UNC’s 52 kills, 44 assists and 46 digs.

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About Wendy Mayer

Wendy Mayer

Wendy Mayer has worked in athletics media relations for the last 20 years. The Northwest Missouri State alumna is currently senior writer for after spending the last 15 years with Purdue athletics.

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