Irish split North Carolina road trip
Observer Sports Staff | Monday, November 6, 2017
The Irish (17-8, 7-7 ACC) split their conference road trip this past weekend, losing 3-1 to the Duke Blue Devils (17-8, 9-5 ACC), before bouncing back 3-2 over the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (11-15, 3-11).
On Friday against the Blue Devils, the Irish got off to a strong start, claiming a 1-0 match lead by winning the first set 25-19. But Duke fought back, as the Irish dropped a very close second set, losing 34-32. The set featured a lot of back and forth play between the Irish and the Blue Devils, with neither team being able to dominate the set until Duke capitalized on a service ace late to pull away.
Duke continued the momentum of the second set into the third and went on a 7-0 run to mount a lead that the Irish couldn’t comeback from, and the Irish fell 25-18 in the third set. In the deciding fourth set, the Irish fought hard to keep the game close, but fell 25-23. Top performers for the Irish included sophomore Jemma Yeadon, who tallied 15 kills and 16 digs, earned her 17th double-double of the season, and junior Rebecca Nunge and senior Sam Fry each contributed 13 kills for the Irish.
Hoping to rebound from their loss at Duke two nights earlier, the Irish traveled to Wake Forest to face the Demon Deacons. In another tightly contested affair, the Irish battled Wake Forest in a series of close matches, winning both the first and third match 25-12, but dropping the second and fourth 25-20 and 26-24 to set up a winner-take-all fifth set.
Although Wake Forest jumped out to an early 6-3 lead, the Irish prevailed in a close fifth set 15-13 to improve to 17-8 on the season. Top performers for the Irish included senior Sydney Kuhn, who recorded a career-high 20 kills in the match. Nunge and Yeadon contributed 12 and 14 kills respectively.
With the win over Wake Forest, the Irish are returning to the .500 mark in the ACC (7-7), which ranks tied for fourth in the conference standings.
The Irish will return home this week and hope to improve their ACC record when they face another ACC foe in Virginia Tech, this Friday at 7:00 p.m. in Purcell Pavilion.