Pitt survived its toughest test in ACC play on Friday night and set up a potential championship-clinching scenario on Sunday.
The Panthers were pushed to the limit by upstart Georgia Tech at Fitzgerald Field House, with the teams taking the fifth set down to the wire before the Panthers prevailed, 15-13 to win the match, 3-2.
The Yellow Jackets tied things up at 13-13 after taking the second and fourth sets from the Panthers, but Pitt’s experience shone through in the final two points.
First, redshirt senior Stephanie Williams sent a kill through Georgia Tech’s back line and then Williams and Layne Van Buskirk teamed up for a set- and match-sealing block.
Chinaza Ndee led the Panthers with 19 kills while hitting at 50 percent on the night. Williams had a double-double with 23 digs and 12 kills. Kayla Lund (14 kills), Layne Ban Buskirk (11 kills), Alexis Akeo (43 assists), Maddie Soboleski (10 assists) and Hali Hillegas (13 digs) also had double-digit stat totals.
The Yellow Jackets were picked to finish toward the bottom of the ACC, but had one eight straight before the battle with the Panthers. Now 9-4 in conference play, they’re tied for third place behind Pitt and Notre Dame.
Pitt has won 13 straight to start the 2019 ACC season and improved to 23-1 overall. The Panthers will host Clemson on Sunday at 1 p.m. A Pitt win over the Tigers combined with a Notre Dame loss at Miami will allow the Panthers to clinch at least a share of their third consecutive ACC championship.