After a shaky fall, the No. 22 Pitt volleyball team is starting to find its form. Most recently, the Panthers swept both Wake Forest and NC State this weekend, moving to 9-4 on the year.
Pitt first defeated Wake Forest on Friday, 3-0, before knocking off NC State by that same score on Saturday. Neither match was all that competitive with the pair of opponents only reaching 20 points in one of the total of six sets between the two. The Panthers’ 25-6, 25-15, and 25-12 pasting of the Wolfpack was particularly lopsided. Neither team is very good — Wake fell to 0-9 after the loss to Pitt and NC State dropped to 5-7. But the team’s dominance was still a very strong showing.
The team continues to get major offensive contributions from a variety of players. Kayla Lund and Chinaza Ndee are the established stars, but offense is coming from a range of sources. Ndee led the team in kills (11) against Wake Forest but transfer Jordan Lockwood was second with seven. The NC State match showed Lund and Ndee leading the way but Valeria Vazquez Gomez continues to make waves as she had seven kills. Vazquez Gomez, a redshirt freshman, is getting a lot of playing time and is beginning to establish herself as a star in the making.
Her, along with Chimaka Nwokolo and Jordan Lockwood all had ridiculously high hitting percentages over the weekend and are helping to really fill some holes lost by the trio of stars the team lost last year.
The Panthers have been on a tear since the restart this fall. The team has not only won all five of its matches, but has dropped only a single set while doing so. A lot of work remains to be done to get the team into the reduced 48-team NCAA Tournament bracket this year. But the Panthers are due for a bump in the rankings this week after sweeping a ranked Georgia Tech team and are making their case for getting in following a .500 fall.
Next weekend, Pitt stays on the road, facing Miami and Duke on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.