The NC State volleyball team lost 3-0 against the No. 4 Pittsburgh Panthers. The loss ends a four-game home stretch for the Wolfpack, who will now travel to Florida for two more ACC teams.
The Pack (7-6, 1-1 ACC) was coming off a win against Virginia to open up ACC play, beating the Cavaliers 3-1. The Panthers (12-0, 2-0 ACC) remain undefeated and continue to dominate, despite the Pack giving it a hard time.
The first set opened with the Panthers taking a 8-5 lead, the biggest of the set. The Pack snagged its first lead when it went on a four point streak to bring it to 9-8. The two teams stayed almost even throughout, with neither team ahead more than three points. The Panthers eventually took the set 25-23.
“It’s a great opportunity when you get to play one of the top four teams in the country,” head coach Luka Slabe said. “I’m also happy that we have quite a few teams in the ACC that are top 25 teams. … It guarantees us a lot of good competition and tough opponents playing this fall.”
The Pack had five blocks in the first set, spearheaded by freshman middle blocker Jada Allen, who finished the match with five blocks. Allen and freshman opposite hitter Amanda Rice fought at the net for blocks and caused multiple errors by the Panthers.
“If we fix a couple of things we’ll definitely be able to battle with any high ranking team,” Rice said.
The second set started much like the first with a small Pitt lead. This set, the Panthers seemed to be ahead of the Pack, blocking many of the Pack’s attacks and going to the right spots. Both teams scored in chunks of two or three, and the Pack was consistently behind by up to three points. However, with the score at 20-20, the Panthers racked up five straight points off kills and blocks to close out the set 25-20.
“I would say the first two sets we were hanging there; we were putting a lot of pressure with our serve and we somehow kept our passing where it should be,” Slabe said.
Senior outside hitter Jade Parchment dominated the match, putting together 13 kills, three blocks and was credited with only three errors. She has become an integral part for the Wolfpack, and will need to stay that way to take on the rest of the ACC competition.
“I know a lot of hitters were just talking really well; they were very dynamic on the court,” Rice said. “So I think just everyone just did their job and was accountable and you could trust everybody on the court.”
The third set, once again, started off with a three-point Panther lead. However, Pitt pulled ahead to four points with an 11-7 score. The Panthers seemed to find their rhythm, going on an 8-1 run to burst the match open 24-14. The Pack rallied four points together, but was closed out 25-18.
Despite the loss, both Slabe and Rice felt that the energy was high from the team and there were a lot of takeaways from the match as a whole. With the football team’s win against rival Clemson, Rice agreed that also contributed to the high spirits of the Pack.
“We need to bring that same kind of energy onto our court,” Rice said. “We owe it to the audience and our fans to be as good as any other athletic program that's here at NC State and knowing that, if our football team can be one of the best football teams in the country, so can we for volleyball.”
NC State will travel to Florida for two away games, the first against Florida State, the second against Miami. The FSU game will be on Friday, Oct. 1 at 6:30 p.m. while the Miami game will be on Sunday, Oct. 3, at 1:00 p.m.