Pitt’s No. 4 ranked volleyball team kicked off ACC play tonight. They weren’t expected to have much trouble with Virginia on the road and they mostly didn’t, sweeping the Cavaliers for a 3-0 win.
Pitt (12-1) took the first set, 25-11, behind seven kills from Stephanie Williams. They hit an incredible .520 in that first set, which is basically unheard of. The second set was closer but the Panthers still won it, 25-17, despite the team going to the bench by this point.
In the third set, Virginia really benefited from some sloppy play by Pitt and, as a result, it was back and forth for a while. The Panthers gave a lot of time to some reserves and had setting and hitting issues. The offense was just mostly out of sorts the entire set. Don’t get me wrong, Virginia looked better in that set. But the Panthers did quite a bit of shooting themselves in the foot and just didn’t seem to be all that focused by that point. Pitt got things going (enough, anyway) and ultimately took the set, 25-21, for the sweep.
Virginia (8-6) was just overmatched in this one and, aside from the final set, didn’t look too great. They did get better as the match went on but Pitt really didn’t look so hot in that final set. What do we attribute it to? I don’t know but teams are entitled to have a bad set from time to time and I wouldn’t read much into it.
Defense was a problem for Virginia and they had trouble with Pitt’s serve in the first two sets. The Panthers are relatively strong in that area with several decent servers. But many of the serves weren’t particularly tough. And even beyond that, they had no answer defensively for Pitt’s hitters when the Panthers had their offense set up. The Cavaliers certainly were better in the third but still were ultimately no match for the Panthers.
All in all, a really strong way to open conference play. You expected Pitt to have little trouble with this one but you never knew what you’d get after such a tough weekend with two matches against Penn State. Aside from the third set, it was great to see them put Virginia away without dropping a set.
Next up, Pitt hosts Virginia Tech on Sunday.