The No. 2 Pitt volleyball team faced two ACC opponents over the weekend with varying degrees of success. The first was an unranked Clemson team that Pitt dispatched in three sets. The second was No. 18 Georgia Tech, which dealt Pitt its first loss of the season.
Pitt and Clemson squared off at the Fitzgerald Field House on Friday evening, and after a back-and-forth battle in the first set, the Panthers pulled ahead thanks to four late kills by Pitt outside hitter Kayla Lund and won the opener 25-21. Pitt would struggle again in the second set, initially falling behind 13-8 before calling a timeout and regrouping. That break did wonders for the team, as the Panthers then went on a 17-5 run to win the set 25-18. But things would not get easier for the Panthers in the third set, as they had to endure seven ties and two lead changes before gaining a 12-11 lead. However, after that, they rode out a 25-17 win to wrap up a 3-0 sweep.
On Sunday, Pitt followed up its win over Clemson with a top-25 matchup with Georgia Tech. The first set would go Pitt’s way, as the Panthers shot out to a 5-0 lead and never allowed the Yellow Jackets to surpass them en route to a 25-21 set win. However, the second set would not go as smoothly, as Pitt pulled out to a 19-16 lead but allowed Georgia Tech to come back late. And after tying the score at 23, Pitt allowed Georgia Tech to win on back-to-back kills by Mariana Brambilla and Julia Bergmann. The Jackets would win the third set by the same score, overcoming a 19-12 deficit to do so. And while Pitt came back to tie the game at two sets apiece with a 25-18 win in the fourth set, Georgia Tech would emerge victorious from the fifth set, scoring six straight points to win 3-2.
The loss was the Panthers’ first of the season, and it dropped the team to 15-1 overall and 5-1 in conference. It also put an end to a four-game streak of sweeps during which Pitt shut out NC State, Virginia, Duke and Clemson. However, with the loss in the books, Pitt will look to bounce back during a trip to Florida next weekend. During that trip, Pitt will face Miami on Friday and Florida State on Sunday. And further down the line, Pitt will get a chance to avenge the loss to Georgia Tech, as the teams are set to meet again on Nov. 19.