Sports, Fall, Volleyball

Strong First Set Not Enough As BC Falls to North Carolina

Boston College volleyball struggled in one important aspect of a match on Sunday—serving. 

The Eagles (14–8, 3–5 Atlantic Coast) committed two service errors in the final five points of their first set against North Carolina, giving the Tar Heels (9–8, 3–5) enough momentum to sweep BC 3–0 in an intense match from beginning to end.

“[Service errors] didn’t come at great times,” BC head coach Jason Kennedy said.

The set scores were 25–23, 25–14, and 25–20. The home loss snapped BC’s two-game win streak.

The first set of the game was a back-and-forth affair, with each team going on short runs. Sophia Lambros notched a well-paced kill to set the tone and put the Eagles up 2–1. But no squad could pull away, as BC tied the set 11 times and the Tar Heels trailed by one point 17 times.

BC went ahead up 22–20, but a Brooklyn Yelland service error and a Sadie Swift ace tied the match at 22 apiece. BC then called a timeout, and Alayna Crabtree registered a kill in a crucial spot to put BC up by one.

But Chandler Swanson committed a service error to swing the momentum back to the Tar Heels, and North Carolina recorded two straight kills to take the first set.

“I think we played a little bit tentative down the stretch,” Kennedy said. “We had opportunities to kind of be the aggressor from the service line, and I don’t really feel like we were, especially late in the sets. We’ve got to do a better job of taking care of managing those situations a little bit better and go from there.”

The first set loss set the tone for the rest of the match, according to Kennedy.

“Obviously, you’d rather win the tight wins than lose the tight ones,” Kennedy said. “So I think if we win that one, maybe it’s a little bit of a different story, but I just don’t think we’ve played our best today. So we’ve got to reset, find another way to do it, and get back after it.”

Jenna Pollock managed to put the Eagles on the board first in the second set with a kill, but the Eagles’ 1–0 lead did not hold up for long. Mabrey Shaffmaster’s kill started an 8–0 Tar Heels run, leaving a sizable deficit that was too much for BC to overcome.

Anna Murphy, however, single-handedly kept BC from completely falling apart, demonstrating her ability to restrain the attacks of the opposing side. She led BC’s defense with nine kills, and fellow defenseman Cornelia Roach also stood strong, totaling four blocks.

“[Murphy] is kind of our anchor and she’s stable for us, you know, we know we’re gonna get out of her every night and that’s been a good deal,” Kennedy said

But neither effort was enough, as the Tar Heels’ Zoe Behrendt dominated on the serves, forcing BC errors along the way en route to an 11-point victory.

The third set remained tight, with the score tied at eight. Freshman Halle Schroder persisted and shined on the floor, registering one kill in the set and six total.

But North Carolina slowly pulled away and ended the set on a 5–1 run despite BC making the score 22–20 off Crabtree’s kill.

Kennedy mentioned BC’s youth as a reason for its struggles on Sunday.

“I think some of these younger ones have been playing a decent amount that it’s time for them to start showing up on a regular basis and know what we can get out of them,” Kennedy said.

October 15, 2023