ACC Rewind: A Look at the League Heading into Conference Action

  0 Jil Price Igara | September 19th, 2018 | ACC, College - Women's Indoor, News

9th-ranked Pittsburgh, one of 6 remaining undefeated Division I volleyball programs nationally, is viewed as the heavy favorite to win the Atlantic Coast Conference championship this year. VolleyMob and a vote of league coaches in the preseason were unanimous.

The Panthers returned 6 starters including their libero for 2018 and have earned their highest ranking in program history after establishing an 11-0 record.

Georgia Tech matches Pitt’s win total with an 11-2 record, while Boston College is 10-2 on the young season.

Four ACC teams are undefeated on their home courts, including Pittsburgh (8-0), Georgia Tech (10-0), Boston College (4-0) and Clemson (3-0).


Pittsburgh 0-0 0.000 11-0 1.000 8-0 1-0 2-0 W11
Georgia Tech 0-0 0.000 11-2 0.846 10-0 0-2 1-0 W2
Boston College 0-0 0.000 10-2 0.833 4-0 6-2 0-0 L1
Virginia Tech 0-0 0.000 9-3 0.750 7-2 2-1 0-0 L2
Clemson 0-0 0.000 9-4 0.692 3-0 6-4 0-0 L1
Duke 0-0 0.000 6-3 0.667 3-3 3-0 0-0 L1
Louisville 0-0 0.000 7-4 0.636 4-1 3-3 0-0 W1
NC State 0-0 0.000 6-4 0.600 5-4 1-0 0-0 L1
Notre Dame 0-0 0.000 6-4 0.600 5-2 0-2 1-0 L2
Miami 0-0 0.000 4-3 0.571 3-3 1-0 0-0 W2
Syracuse 0-0 0.000 4-4 0.500 2-3 2-1 0-0 W1
Wake Forest 0-0 0.000 5-7 0.417 5-7 0-0 0-0 L1
Florida State 0-0 0.000 4-6 0.400 3-1 1-5 0-0 L2
Virginia 0-0 0.000 4-6 0.400 3-4 1-2 0-0 L1
North Carolina 0-0 0.000 3-5 0.375 3-3 0-2 0-0 L2

VolleyMob Rankings

  • #9 Pittsburgh

Week 1 Schedule

Wednesday, Sept. 19 Virginia at #9 Pittsburg Pittsburg, Pa. 7 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 21 Duke at Florida State Tallahassee, Fla. 6:30 p.m.
Wake Forest at Miami Coral Gables, Fla. 7 p.m.
Georgia Tech at Syracuse Syracuse, N.Y. 7 p.m.
#9 Pittsburgh at Virginia Tech Blacksburg, Va. 6 p.m.
Notre Dame at North Carolina Chapel Hill, N.C. 6:30 p.m.
Louisville at NC State Raleigh, N.C. 7 p.m.
Clemson at Boston College Chestnut Hills, Mass. 7 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 23 Clemson at Syracuse Syracuse, N.Y. 1 p.m.
Wake Forest at Florida State Tallahassee, Fla. 1 p.m.
Duke at Miami Coral Gables, Fla. 2 p.m.
Notre Dame at NC State Raleigh, N.C. 1 p.m.
Georgia Tech at Boston College Chestnut Hills, Mass. 1 p.m.
Louisville at North Carolina Chapel Hill, N.C. 1 p.m.
Virginia at Virginia Tech Blacksburg, Va. 1 p.m.

Boston College: The Eagles have already surpassed last season’s win total (7) with a 10-2 mark, and look to prove doubters wrong in ACC action after being chosen to finish last in the preseason poll.Breakdown

  • Boston College went 4-16 in the ACC last season and 4-23 overall. So far this year, it has been a different story under first-year head coach Jason Kennedy, as the Eagles have put together a 10-2 nonconference resume.
  • The Eagles have yet to face a ranked opponent and the ACC slate will be the most challenging portion of their schedule.
  • Key Players:
    • Cat Palido leads the Eagles with 100 kills and a 2.44 kills per set average.
    • Jane DeJarld is averaging 6.31 assists per set for Boston College, while Makenzie Morrison anchors the back line with a 4.60 digs per set average.

Clemson: Under 2nd-year head coach Michaela Franklin, Clemson is starting to hit its stride with a 9-4 nonconference record despite losing top returner Kaylin Korte due to injury.

  • The Tigers have defended their home court well thus far, compiling a 3-0 mark in Jervey Gym.
  • Clemson, which is comprised of 8 freshmen, 4 sophomores, 3 juniors and 1 senior, was chosen to finish 11th in ACC standings this year.
  • Key Players:
    • Ashtynne Alberts (138 kills, 2.94 per set) and Brooke Bailey (137 kills, 2.80 per set) lead the Tigers offensively.
    • Gabby Easton coordinates the offense, dishing out 572 assists (11.67 per set) on the young season.

Duke: Hurricane weather disrupted the Blue Devils’ schedule last week with 3 cancellations. It will be interesting to see how this team prepares for its ACC opener.

  • The Blue Devils’ record is pretty deceiving, considering 2 of its 3 losses on the season were to now top-ranked BYU.
  • Besides a hiccup against East Tennessee State in 4, Duke has been pretty consistent. Following their losses to the Cougars, the Blue Devils rattled off 6-straight wins.
  • Key Players:
    • Ade Owokoniran leads the Blue Devils with 102 kills (3.09 per set) on the season and a .225 hitting percentage.
    • Leah Meyer owns a .386 attack percentage on the season with 86 kills (2.61 per set).

Florida State: Don’t take the Seminoles lightly in the ACC, they’ve played some teams in the preseason.

  • Florida State, which is 4-6 entering ACC play, has faced Minnesota (L, 3-0), Wisconsin (L, 3-1), Colorado State (L, 3-2) and Florida (L, 3-1).
  • It may not have paid off in the win column, but the Seminoles, who were picked to finish 3rd in the conference, will be ready for whatever the ACC has to throw at them this year.
  • Key Players:
    • Payton Caffrey has tallied a team-high 157 kills (4.24 per set) to lead Florida State this season.
    • Taryn Knuth is hitting .361 this year and is averaging 2.30 kills and 1.51 blocks per set.

Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets are thriving under the direction of 4th-year head coach Michelle Collier with their best start in years.

  • Georgia Tech is off to its best start in a while with an 11-2 mark, matching league favorite Pittsburgh in the win column.
  • While they haven’t played as tough of a nonconference schedule, the Yellow Jackets just knocked off Georgia, who received votes last week, in 5 sets.
  • The Yellow Jackets got Mikaila Dowd back from injury for the match against Georgia. She led the team in scoring with 13 kills in the victory.
  • Key Players:
    • Mariana Brambilla (3.67) and Dowd (3.44) each average over 3 kills per set for the Yellow Jackets.
    • Kodie Comby is hitting .402 on the season with 94 kills (2.04 per set).

Louisville: Under 2nd-year head coach Dani Busboom Kelly, the Cardinals have gone out and challenged themselves in the preseason.

  • The Cardinals’ 7-4 record is not indicative of the talent they have this season. Louisville played Florida on the road (L, 3-1), USC in a neutral site contest (L, 3-0), Purdue on the road (L, 3-2) and Kentucky (L, 3-0) at home.
  • Louisville is the team to watch in the ACC race, as it was chosen to finish runner-up to 9th-ranked Pittsburgh this conference season.
  • Key Players:
    • Melanie McHenry has compiled 126 kills (3.41 per set) and hit .215 on the season for the Cardinals, while Jasmine Bennett boasts an impressive .467 attack percentage with 97 kills (2.62 per set).
    • Wilma Rivera is distributing an average of 10.49 assists per set for Louisville.

NC State: NC State gained valuable experience against tough nonconference opponents which will lend itself well in the ACC slate.

  • The Wolfpack, which is 6-4 on the young season, challenged itself with matchups against Washington State (L, 3-1), Creighton (L, 3-0) and Georgia (L, 3-0).
  • While the results weren’t there, the experience should help NC State prepare for what it will see in the ACC this season.
  • Key Players:

North Carolina: Three ranked opponents highlight North Carolina’s hurricane-abbreviated nonconference schedule.

  • The Tarheels, who were picked to finish 5th in the ACC this season, enters conference play with a 4-5 mark. They are projected to have a much better conference showing.
  • Four of its 5 losses have come from programs represented in the national polls, including Wisconsin (3-0), Minnesota (3-1), Colorado (3-0) and Georgia (3-1).
  • Key Players:
    • Destiny Cox paces the Tarheels offensively with 116 kills (3.74 per set), 54 more than the next best offensive threat in Skylar Wine.
    • Mia Fradenburg averages 3.44 digs per set to anchor the North Carolina defense.

Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish have played 3 matches against ranked foes this season and each team is still undefeated.

  • Notre Dame fell to Purdue in 4 sets and Michigan twice in 3 and 4 sets, respectively, in the nonconference slate. Both teams are on the list of 6 remaining undefeated NCAA Division I volleyball programs.
  • The Fighting Irish, picked to finish 4th in the preseason, enter ACC play with experience under their belt and a 6-4 record.
  • Key Players:
    • Jemma Yeadon leads the Fighting Irish offensively with 104 kills (3.47 per set) this year.
    • Zoe Nunez dishes out an average of 9.45 assists per set for Notre Dame.

Miami: The Hurricane lost 7 letterwinners from a season ago, in which the squad made an NCAA Tournament second round appearance.

  • Miami’s youthful squad, which is comprised of 7 freshmen, 2 sophomores, 3 juniors and 3 seniors, has struggled to find cohesiveness so far this year.
  • The Hurricane is 4-3 on the season with losses to Florida Gulf Coast (3-1), Towson (3-0) and Missouri (3-1).
  • Key Players:
    • Chloe Brown has a team-high 76 kills (3.30 per set) and possesses a .231 attack percentage.
    • Haley Templeton averages 10.08 assists per set to lead the offense.

Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh is 1 of 6 remaining teams in the country, was named preseason ACC favorite and returns every single starter. Will their unbeaten streak continue?

  • The Panthers are off to its best start in program history at 11-0 and are the lone ACC representative in VolleyMob power rankings.
  • Pittsburgh guards its home court well, going 10-0 at home on the young season. Two of those wins game against nationally ranked opponents in Cal Poly (3-1) and Washington (3-0).
  • Key Players:
    • Kayla Lund has been dominant offensively for the Panthers, averaging 4.18 kills per set and notching a .352 attack percentage.
    • Layne Van Buskirk is hitting at an efficient .416 clip with 114 kills on the season (2.85 per set).
    • Kamalani Akeo orchestrates the balanced offensive attack for Pittsburgh, distributing 7.23 assists per set.

Syracuse: The Orange has used a tough nonconference schedule to prepare for the ACC. Will it pay off?

  • Syracuse has faced 4 teams represented in the VolleyMob power rankings, incuding BYU (L, 3-0), USC (L, 3-2), Marquette (L, 3-1) and Iowa State (W, 3-2).
  • The Orange were slated to finish 7th in preseason ACC projections.
  • Key Players:
    • Polina Shemanova has tallied a team-high 139 kills (3.97 per set) and is hitting .235 this year.
    • Santita Ebangwese has been a strong contributor offensively as well, notching a .403 attack percentage and averaging 2.29 kills per set.

Virginia: This is another team which has felt the impact of hurricane season on its schedule.

  • The Cavaliers will enter the ACC season, 3 matches of experience shy of what they wanted to. Their matchups against VCU, South Carolina and Toledo were cancelled due to hurricane weather.
  • Virginia, chosen to finish 14th in the ACC, will open the conference slate with a big challenge in 9th-ranked Pittsburgh.
  • Key Players:
    • Sarah Billiard leads Virginia offensively with 166 kills (4.05 per set) and a .238 attack percentage on the season.
    • Kelsey Miller paces the back row with 161 digs on the year for a 3.93 dig per set average.

Virginia Tech: The Hokies, who are 9-2 on the season, will find out how they’re doing with an immediate test in the ACC opener against 9th-ranked Pittsburgh.

  • Virginia Tech has strung together 9 wins in the nonconference season, but have met just one ranked foe in Baylor, falling to the Lady Bears in straight sets.
  • The Hokies, who were picked to finish 12th in the ACC this year, went 4-16 in conference action and 10-21 overall a season ago.
  • Key Players:
    • Kaity Smith leads the Hokies offensively with 152 kills (3.62 per set), followed by Jaila Tolbert  with 128 kills (3.05 per set).
    • Rhegan Mitchell dishes out an average of 8.37 assists per set for the Virginia Tech offense.

Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons were chosen to finish 13th in the ACC this season and are 5-7 so far this season.

  • Wake Forest had a rough start to the season, losing 6 consecutive matches before recording its first win over Elon in straight sets.
  • The Demon Deacons have won 4 of their last 5 matches heading into ACC action.
  • Key Players:
    • Myca Mitchell (2.82 kills per set) and Caroline Rassenfoss (2.43 kills per set) lead Wake Forest offensively.
    • Madeline Holt averages 932 assists per set to guide the Demon Deacons.

Statistically Speaking

Hitting Percentage




Service Aces


Individual Stats


Attack Percentage




Service Aces

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