PITTSBURGH — Pitt volleyball is one of the best teams in the ACC and showed it yet again Sunday afternoon in a sweep over North Carolina on the road.
The Panthers (10-2 overall, 2-0 ACC) get their fifth straight win and fifth straight sweep with the victory over the Tar Heels (7-4 overall, 1-1 ACC). It is also the eighth straight win for the Panthers over the Tar Heels since 2016 and they lead 16-6 in the all-time series. The win is the third straight for the Panthers in Chapel Hill as well.
Pitt started off the first set on a 5-1 run, but North Carolina responded by going on a 10-4 run themselves to gain an 11-9 advantage, forcing a timeout from head coach Dan Fisher. North Carolina would lead as big as 17-14, but Pitt came back and both teams were level at 22-22.
UNC made two costly attack errors and then Pitt first-year outside hitter Torrey Stafford made the set winning kill, 25-22.
The Panthers and the Tar Heels battled early on in the second set, with the Panthers holding a 10-8 advantage. The Tar Heels would make three attack errors, which the Panthers used to go on a 6-0 run to build a 16-8 lead.
The Tar Heels continued to stay in the set, using a 9-3 run to cut the Panthers’ lead to 19-17. It wasn’t enough in the end, as the Panthers would score the final five points of the set, four off of Tar Heels’ attack errors, and won it, 25-17.
Pitt began the third set on a 4-1 run, but North Carolina scored eight of the next 10 points to gain a 9-6 advantage. Pitt again responded, using an 8-3 run to take a 14-11 lead.
UNC didn’t give up, tying the set up at 16, but Pitt would win the set and the match, on the back off of a 9-3 run, 25-17.
Stafford finished first on the Panthers in kills with 16, tying her season high, while fellow first-year in right side hitter Olivia Babock was second with 11 kills. Babcock also finished first on the Panthers with junior libero/defensive specialist Emmy Klika with seven digs.
Redshirt senior outside hitter Valeria Vasquez Gomez had nine kills and led Pitt with an incredible .750 hitting percentage. She also made five digs and three total blocks.
Graduate middle blocker Chiamaka Nwokolo led the Panthers with eight total blocks, a season high for her. Junior setter Rachel Fairbanks led with 31 assists, her second highest total of the season with her 33 assists on Friday against Duke.
Pitt volleyball returns home next weekend, as they face Boston College at Fitzgerald Field House at 7 p.m.