However, a kill by redshirt first-year Lauren Harrison from sophomore Annabelle Archer secured the second set for the Tar Heels, 25-23.
In the third set, North Carolina was able to earn an early 3-2 lead before Virginia Tech ran rampant. The Hokies scored 14 straight points to take a 16-3 lead and dominated the set with a 25-9 win.
Needing a win in the fourth set to keep the match alive, the Tar Heels started off strong. UNC was able to take a 24-22 lead, but an attacking error by North Carolina’s Destiny Cox gave the Hokies a chance. On the next play, another attacking error, this time from the Hokies, sealed a 25-23 win in the fourth set for the Tar Heels.
In the fifth set, the Hokies jumped out to a 12-3 lead after a barrage of kills from junior outside hitter Kaity Smith. UNC attempted to bridge the gap with an 8-2 run, but the deficit proved to be too much to overcome, and Virginia Tech won the fifth set, 15-11, to take the match.
Who stood out?
Senior Mia Fradenburg recorded a game-high 27 digs for the Tar Heels. Harrison, Cox and first-year Skyy Howard each reached double digits in kills, recording 16, 13 and 10, respectively.
On the other end of the court, Smith contributed a game-high 24 kills for the Hokies.
When was it decided?
The game was decided early in the fifth set, when the Hokies amassed a quick 7-0 lead, a deficit which UNC was unable to come back from. Virginia Tech went on to win the tie-breaking set by a score of 15-11.
Why does it matter?
The Tar Heels faced the Hokies early in the season in Chapel Hill, and North Carolina walked away with a 3-1 win at home.
Friday’s result means UNC will finish the season with a 12-6 record in the ACC, a mark only Pittsburgh (18-0) and Georgia Tech (14-4) bested this year.
When do they play next?
The Tar Heels will find out their postseason fate during the 2019 NCAA Selection Show, which will air on Sunday night at 8:30 p.m. on ESPNU.