Entering Week 10, there were two undefeated teams left in Division I: BYU out of the West Coast Conference and Pittsburgh out of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
BYU picked up two more victories, both on the road, to move to 22-0 on the season and 12-0 in the West Coast Conference, sweeping Portland on Thursday and Gonzaga on Saturday.
Next up for BYU is a home contest against San Diego, which is currently in second place at 13-9 overall and 10-2 in league action.
Pittsburgh won its first match of the week, with a Friday road sweep of Wake Forest, but the team’s 23-match win streak came to a close on Sunday in a four-set loss at Duke.
Duke def. #8 Pittsburgh 3-1 (18-25, 26-24, 25-23, 25-22)
The Panthers took the opening set, but dropped three straight as Duke turned it on offensively to steal away the 18-25, 26-24, 25-23, 25-22 win.
Duke outblocked Pitt 13-9 and outhit the visitors .316 to .250 for the match.
Payton Schwantz registered 17 kills, nine digs and four blocks to pace Duke, while Ade Owokoniran (14 kills), Leah Meyer (11 kills, 9 blocks, .364) and Andie Shelton (22 assists, 8 kills, 10 digs, .571) followed.
Layne Van Buskirk and Nika Markovic each put down a match-high 18 kills, while Kayla Lund chipped in 14 putaways. Markovic finished off a double-double with 11 digs, while Lund added 16 saves. Van Buskirk hit at a team-best .567 clip and notched seven blocks.
“It all started with serve receive,” Duke head coach Jolene Nagel said. “Our passers did a good job today and our setters did a good job of mixing things up to open up our hitters. It was different players stepping up at different times and that’s what we needed to defeat a really strong Pitt team that doesn’t make a lot of errors.”
Pitt hit .361 in the opening stanza, charging out to an 8-2 lead and hanging on for the win. The Panthers closed out the 25-18 win on an 8-3 run, including three Nika Markovic putaways.
Duke built a four-point lead early in Set 2 at 12-8. Pittsburgh cut the margin to one at 12-11 with back to back Blue Devil hitting errors. Duke scored six of the next seven, including a kill and two block by Meyer to go up 18-12. The Panthers chipped away, eventually taking the lead at 22-21 on a Van Buskirk kill. Two more Van Buskirk putaways had Pitt on the hill at 24-23, but a Shelton kill, a Mackenzie Cole ace and a stuff by Shelton and Meyer swiped Duke the 26-24 win.
The teams tied 19 times in Set 3, last at 21, before Duke closed out the stanza on a 4-2 run. Meyer tied it up at 21 then added a block and a kill to put the Blue Devils on top 24-22. A Samantha Amos kill gave Duke the 25-23 win two points later. Duke hit .500 in the stanza, while Pitt registered a .333 effort.
In what would be the final stanza, Duke hit .295 while forcing six Pitt miscues and a .182 hitting effort. After falling behind 15-12, Pittsburgh used a 6-1 run to turn that into a two-point lead at 18-16. Lund downed two kills and the Blue Devils gave away two points on errors in the stretch. Trailing 20-19, Duke turned it on, posting a final 6-2 rally to issue the Panthers their first loss. Meyer put up two stuffs, while Schwantz downed two kills, including the final blow. Pitt did make one final charge down 24-20, scoring on a Chinaza Ndee kill and a block by Van Buskirk and Stephanie Williams to stay alive, before Schwantz ended the match.
.@PaytonSchwantz with the kill to give Duke the win over No. 5 Pitt
Duke 3, Pitt 1#GoDuke 🔵😈 pic.twitter.com/lQde3nySHm
— Duke Volleyball (@DukeVB) October 28, 2018
Pittsburgh returns to action on Friday at Georgia Tech. Despite the loss, the Panthers still sit atop the ACC at 11-1, one game up on Louisville and Florida State, which each are 10-2 in league action.