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Pitt Volleyball

Pitt Volleyball Earns Share of ACC Title for Second Straight Season



No. 3 Pitt has claimed at least a share of the ACC championship for the second time in as many seasons.

With a clean sweep (25-8, 25-12, 25-13) against Syracuse, on the road at Gym A in the Syracuse Women’s Building, the Panthers finished the regular season with a 25-4 (16-2 ACC) record — and will now await Sunday’s 6 p.m. Selection Show to see if they have indeed earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA women’s volleyball tournament.

Pitt was thoroughly dominant against Syracuse, outhitting the Orange severely (.436-.025), as the Panthers racked up 40 kills, 39 digs and a whopping seven serving aces in a cleanly played match.

A dominant first set, not trailing once on the way to a 25-8 set win, was fueled by early kills from Olivia Babcock, Emma Monks, Torrey Stafford and Chiamaka Nwokolo and some sloppy play from the Orange.

Perhaps fittingly, back-to-back Syracuse attack errors, a Cat Flood kill and another Orange service error gave Pitt the first set.

It was more of the same in the second set as Pitt took the lead, courtesy of a Syracuse attack error, and didn’t look back. But the Orange remained close throughout the first half of the set, a Pitt attack error cutting ‘Cuse’s deficit to just 12-8.

But kills from Stafford and Nwokolo, and a couple more from Julianna Dalton and Stafford, pushed the lead to 17-9, and the Panthers took the final six points to clinch a 25-12 second set win.

Pitt, once took an early set lead (off a Babcock kill), and made sure it didn’t trail for a single second against the Orange as the Panthers flexed their muscles with a 25-13 third — and matching-winning — set.

Syracuse, also once again, maintained a slight deficit early in the set, but a four-point swing turned a 12-6 lead into a 16-6 lead, and for essentially every Syracuse point the rest of the way, Pitt added two of its own.

Nwokolo was just about perfect Friday night, hitting a perfect 1.000%, but Valeria Vazquez Gomez wasn’t far behind as she hit .899. And Stafford and Babcock each hit better than .400% themselves.

Stafford and Babcock led the way with nine kills each, and Vazquez Gomez (eight) and Nwokolo (six) struck as many kills as anyone on the Syracuse roster. Babcock also added five service aces and six digs in an all-around dominant night.

Lexis Akeo dished out 25 assists, with eight more coming from Haiti Tautua’a and six more coming from Emmy Kilka.

With the regular season finished up, Pitt will not wait to see the result of Florida State’s match against Florida State Saturday afternoon, and regardless of the outcome, Pitt is — once again — an ACC champion. The selection show, with Pitt sitting at No. 3 in the most recent poll, should be kind to the Panthers.

With a No. 1 seed, Pitt would host its matchups through the quarterfinals.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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Joseph Carothers
Joseph Carothers
3 months ago

So, FSU is playing itself?!

3 months ago

Hard to lose.

3 months ago

Notre Dame

Mike Chappie
Mike Chappie
3 months ago

I hope the expanded ACC schedules smarter. Pitt playing Syracuse, the worst Power 5 school in the nation, twice this year really hurt Pitt’s RPI. One of the key ranking systems that the NCAA committee uses to seed teams for the NCAA tournament. For example after their second win win against Miami, Pitt was #2 in the country based on RPI…. However after their second win against Syracuse two days later Pitt dropped to #4 and Louisville moved into #3 with Wisconsin on our heals at #5. Fortunately Wisconsin ended their season with Big 10 basement Iowa. Florida St did… Read more »

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