- TCU wins 3-2 (16-25, 25-21, 23-25, 25-18, 15-10)
- TCU improves to 7-3, UNC falls to 8-2
Texas Christian University handed #8 North Carolina just its second loss of the young season, coming back from a 1-2 set deficit to win 3-2.
TCU’s had three players pull impressive double-doubles to snag the win. Ashley Smith had 15 kills and 16 digs, Sarita Mikals had 10 kills and a team-high 19 digs, and Jillian Bergeson racked up 11 kills and 16 digs.
Regan McGuire was another huge offensive weapon, registering 14 kills and hitting .500 for the Horned Frogs.
UNC won the opening set convincingly, pushed TCU hard in the second before dropping the set, then squeaked out a 25-23 win in set #3 to go up 2-1.
But TCU never stopped fighting, rolling to a 25-18 win in set 4 to even things up, then taking the shorter 5th set 15-10.
North Carolina’s Sheila Doyle had a game-high 23 digs, and Taylor Leath hit 12 kills and 10 digs for a double-double of her own.
Despite TCU’s big closing win, UNC still took the overall tournament title at the Horned Frog Challenge with a 2-1 record and the best total set record of the tournament. Leath was named tournament MVP for the Tar Heels.
Fort Worth, Texas – No. 8 North Carolina suffered a setback on Saturday evening, surrendering a 2-1 match lead to fall to TCU in five sets (25-16, 21-25, 25-23, 18-25, 10-15). Despite the loss, the Tar Heels were crowned the victors of the Horned Frog Challenge, having won the most sets amongst those who finished the weekend 2-1. Heading into the start of conference play, UNC sits at 8-2 while TCU improves to 7-3.
Reigning ACC Player of the Week Taylor Leath was named Most Valuable Player of the TCU Horned Frog Challenge after leading the Tar Heels with 33 kills and 29 digs on the weekend. The redshirt sophomore recorded her fourth career double-double in the finale with 12 kills and 10 digs against TCU.
Leath led a balanced Tar Heel offense, as seven different attackers posted seven-or-more kills with four in double digits. Fellow All-Tournament outsideTaylor Borup hit .455 with 11 kills against TCU, while Julia Scoles and Taylor Treacy turned in 11 and 10 kills, respectively.
All-Tournament setter Abigail Curry posted her second double-double of the weekend with 29 assists and 13 digs, while freshman Mariah Evans tallied 25 assists, nine digs and two service aces. Senior libero Sheila Doyle registered her 12th career 20-dig performance, leading the match with 23 from the back row.
The Tar Heels served tough throughout the match, landing a total of nine service aces—the most for UNC since the 2014 NCAA Tournament. Freshman Julia Scoles, who had two aces earlier in the day against SMU, fired four of those nine, which is also the most by a Tar Heel since the Hampton match on Dec. 5, 2014. Additionally, Taylor Fricano, who hit .353 in the match, landed a personal-best two aces.
The Tar Heels opened the match by hitting .500 without an attack error in the first set, racing out to a 7-4 lead and running away with a 25-16 decision in the opening frame. Carolina sided out at 81 percent (13-for-16) while landing four aces in the set.
The TCU block came alive in the second set, as back-to-back stuffs by Natalie Gower and Sarita Mikals lifted the Horned Frogs to a quick 6-2 lead. A pair of kills by Treacy pulled UNC back within one, 8-7, but a Gower kill kept UNC from tying the score, and soon TCU led 15-10. The Tar Heels put the pressure on again, coming within two, 18-16, on a kill by Fricano, but another Gower swing gave TCU back the momentum, and a back row attack call on Curry ended the set, 25-21, in favor of the Frogs.
Carolina exploded out of the gate for a 12-4 lead in the third set, but TCU patiently clawed its way back, and two Tar Heel errors allowed the Frogs to tie the score at 20. A kill by Treacy kept TCU from taking the lead, and an ace by Curry made it 23-21. A kill out of the back row by Leath set up set point, and after the Frogs erased the first attempt, Leath struck another blow to win the frame, 25-23.
A 4-1 early lead was enough for TCU in the fourth set, as a devastating 7-0 run allowed the Horned Frogs to take a 21-12 lead, and a kill by Anna Walsh sent the match to five, 25-18.
Carolina controlled the fifth set early, but the Horned Frogs won five straight points to make it 10-6 on a kill by Ashley Smith. UNC pulled back within two, 12-10, but the Horned Frogs won the final three points of the match, ending the night with a block by Walsh and Regan McGuire, to knock off the eighth-ranked Tar Heels, 15-10.
After a successful 8-2 nonconference campaign, No. 8 North Carolina opens ACC play on Thursday, Sept. 22, with a trip across the Triangle to NC State. UNC will face off against the Wolfpack at 7 p.m. at the newly renovated Reynolds Coliseum. The conference opener is slated to air on ACC Network Extra on WatchESPN.com.
No TCU release available.