NC State volleyball lost 3-0 against No. 2 Pittsburgh on senior day in Reynolds Coliseum Sunday afternoon. This was its second sweep of the season for the Panthers over the Pack.
The Wolfpack (11-18, 6-11 ACC) had a tough match against the Panthers (28-1, 17-0 ACC), especially in the second set when the Pack only put up 14 points but was a significant improvement from earlier this season.
Back in October, the Pack was soundly defeated by the Panthers, losing the first set 25-9. The Wolfpack lost the first set today with a score of 25-20. The Panthers easily swept the second set 25-14. The final set was a close set until the end when the Panthers secured its third set win, 25-22.
“Overall, I thought we did a really good job,” said head coach Linda Hampton-Keith. “We really focused on trying to serve tough. We knew that their offense is very balanced, and we wanted to get them out of balance by serving tough and getting them out of system.”
The Panthers came out strong against the Wolfpack in the first two sets. With a 5-1 start in the first set, the Wolfpack had a hard time closing the gap. Being too far behind, the Panthers were always able to put a stop to the Pack’s attempts at building momentum.
The Panther’s lead attacker, outside hitter Kayla Lund, had five of her 18 kills in the first set.
The Pack had better luck in the second set, catching up quickly to try to stay in the game but the team fell behind when the Panthers went on a 6-0 scoring run to hold the Pack 22-13.
“I felt like today we came in with a different mindset. We came into the game knowing they’re good but we can be better than that,” said sophomore middle blocker Pam Chukwujekw. “We didn’t treat them any differently than any other team, we were just really focused on ourselves.”
In the third set, the Wolfpack gained a 5-2 lead, the first time the Pack had led all match. Both teams kept it close, resulting in six lead changes in the set. Finally, the Panthers would pull away with a 7-3 run to win with a score of 25-22.
NC State got the opportunity to thank the seniors: defensive specialist Grace Irvin and middle blockers Laryn Terry and Jessica Kemp.
“They’ve concreted together our leadership and our culture … They are really the ones who are responsible for shifting our culture to where it is,” Hampton-Keith said.
Chukwujekwu stated what the seniors have taught the team throughout the season.
“They really emphasized the importance of stepping up,” Chukwujekwu said. “There’s no hierarchy here, everyone is on an even playing field and they just really, really emphasized that the whole season.”
The Wolfpack goes on the road for its last game of the season against Boston College this Saturday at 12 p.m. The teams previously faced off in Raleigh, where the Pack lost 3-2 in a very close matchup. This should prove to be an exciting rematch and finish to the season.