The No. 4 Pitt volleyball team went on a road trip to North Carolina late last week and emerged victorious over North Carolina and NC State to open up its ACC slate. The Panthers kicked off the weekend trip with a 3-1 win over the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill on Friday and then headed 30 miles east to Raleigh, where they swept the Wolfpack 3-0 on Sunday afternoon.
The first two sets in the matchup with the Tar Heels appeared to be business as usual for the Panthers, as they cruised to a 25-17 opening-set win and followed that up with a 25-20 performance, with Pitt right-side hitter Chinaza Ndee and Pitt outside hitter Leketor Member-Meneh leading the way, with eight kills apiece. But in the third set, North Carolina went up 6-0 early and barely let Pitt get a word in edgewise, as the team went on an 18-4 run that brought up set point and ultimately came away with a 25-9 win. The Panthers would tighten up in the fourth set, keeping the Tar Heels at arm’s length throughout. And despite a late push by the hosts, the Panthers would put the match away with a kill by Pitt outside hitter Jordan Lockwood, winning 25-21.
Pitt’s matchup with NC State would be more straightforward, as the first set was the only hiccup the team had to deal with and it still managed to come away with a 25-23 set win. During that set, the Panthers and the Wolfpack combined for nine service errors and went back and forth for six lead changes. However, a service ace by Pitt setter Lexis Akeo brought up set point, and a kill by Pitt outside hitter Serena Gray gave the Panthers the set win. Things would get easier from there, as Pitt won the next set 25-20 and the final set 25-18. Chinaza Ndee recorded the game-winning kill and led Pitt with 12 kills on Sunday.
The two wins improved Pitt’s record to 12-0 on the year and 2-0 in conference play. They also set Pitt up for a bump up in the national rankings, as No. 2 Wisconsin and No. 3 Ohio State also opened up conference play in the Big Ten over the weekend, with Wisconsin losing 3-2 to unranked Maryland and Ohio State losing 3-2 to No. 7 Purdue and 3-0 to No. 20 Penn State. As a result, No. 1 Texas, No. 4 Pitt and No. 5 Louisville are the last undefeated teams remaining in the national top 10.
Pitt will look to extend its winning streak when it returns home to face Virginia and Duke at the Fitzgerald Field House this week. Pitt will face Virginia at 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday, and the game will air on the ACC Network. The team will then take on Duke at 7 p.m. on Friday.