Photo by Turner Walston
Coach Joe Sagula knows that when his North Carolina volleyball team takes the court on Friday night, it'll be a different environment than they're used to. With Late Night with Roy scheduled for the same night as the team's game against Virginia Tech this year, Sagula's Tar Heel squad won't be frequenting their usual home court in Carmichael Arena. Instead, they'll take the court inside the Dean Smith Center hours before both the men's and women's basketball teams take the court.
"We haven't been there since 2013," Sagula said. "Any time we get to play there, you get to play in front of 10, 15, who knows, maybe more thousand people. It'll be special."
The first volleyball match at Late Night took place in 2003, where 16,126 fans watched UNC triumph in five-sets over rival Duke, setting an NCAA record for most fans in attendance at a volleyball match held in conjunction with a special promotion of another athletics event.
With all of those fans coming in for basketball, Sagula hopes that his team can give them a good enough performance that they'll come back for more free entertainment in Carmichael as the season goes on.
"I want us to be a dynamic team where people say 'wow, that looks super athletic. Look at those girls jump. Look at how hard they go after the ball,'" he said. "I want (the fans) to enjoy how athletic, and the effort this team makes and how hard they work.
"If they do that. I think they'll become fans."
Of course, fandom is a two-way street. So if you're planning on getting there when doors open at 4 p.m. to secure a top seat for the skits, dances, and scrimmages later in the evening, here's some quick hitting notes on things you should know to cheer for the Carolina Volleyball team.
Players to Know
- Taylor Leath, No. 43: The reigning ACC Player of the Year, this outsider hitter will hardly ever leave the court for the Tar Heels as she digs, blocks, serves, and hits to help the Tar Heels. If she get's hot with the kills on the outside, the Hokies are in deep trouble.
- Holly Carlton, No. 6: The Tar Heels' other do-it-all player, the 6-foot-7 Carlton played for the U.S. Junior National team this summer as an opposite hitter. As a redshirt freshman, Carlton plays opposite hitter and setter for UNC. She switches back and forth pretty seamlessly between the two positions during the match. Be sure to watch whether she grabs her jersey before the point begins. If she does that, look for her to set the ball.
- Casey Jacobs, No. 8: Jacobs plays libero for the Tar Heels, which you can see when she wears a different colored jersey than her teammates. She can only play back-row of a rotation because of her position, but can freely sub on and off the court for players as they rotate. This means she can serve quite often. Try to keep track of how many times she serves in a set.
- After a UNC Point, PA announcer Turner Walston will give a quick recap of who scored, and the yell "Point!" You should respond "Heels!" Don't worry, this happens a lot each set, so you'll pick this up quick.
- If UNC gets a block at the net for their point, add a "Block Party!" to your "Heels!"
- When UNC is within five points of winning a set (20 point mark in most sets), hold up five fingers and count down with each Tar Heel point.
- When it's set point for UNC, yell "U"-"N"-"C" with the pass, set and hit of a Tar Heel attack.
Now you're all ready to go! See you on the court!