- Pittsburgh (RV) def. North Carolina 3-0 (25-18, 25-10, 25-21)
- Pittsburgh moves to 16-4, 9-0 ACC; North Carolina falls to 10-8, 7-3 ACC
- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- Attendance: 1126
- Box Score
PITTSBURGH – Pittsburgh extended its win streak to 13 matches and stayed perfect atop the ACC with a sweep of North Carolina on Friday night. The Panthers hit .341 and served up seven aces in the victory.
Pitt outdid the Tar Heels .341 to .173 in hitting effiiency, 45-27 in kills, 7-1 in aces and 37-19 in digs. UNC won the blocking battle 8-5.
Sophomore right side hitter Nika Markovic notched a match-high 16 kills, while hitting at a .500 clip and adding three aces to pace the Panthers. Markovic had help from freshman outside hitter Kayla Lund (9), freshman right side Chinaza Ndee (8) and redshirt sophomore outside Stephanie Williams (7) offensively. Williams and sophomore middle Layne Van Buskirk put up two blocks apiece. Redshirt junior libero Angela Seman and junior setter Kamalani Akeo held down the backcourt with 10 and nine digs respectively.
Redshirt junior outside Taylor Leath was the top hitter for UNC with eight kills. Sophomore outside Taylor Borup (5), redshirt freshman setter/opposite Holly Carlton (4) and senior middle Beth Nordhorn (4) followed. Redshirt freshman middle Katharine Esterley notched a match-leading five blocks. Junior libero Casey Jacobs pulled up a team-best six digs.
Five UNC miscues and two kills by Lund pushed Pitt out to a 9-3 lead to start the match. A Markovic ace put the Panthers up eight at 16-8. The TarHeels scored 10 of the next 14, starting with a 4-0 run, to narrow the gap to three at 21-18. Four players tallied kills in the stretch, which also included a trio of UNC stuffs. Pitt closed out the 25-18 with with four straight kills, two by Lund.
The Panthers quickly built a seven-point advantage in Set 2 with help from a 5-0 run at the start. Aces by Akeo and Markovic and a trio of Markovic putaways helped Pittsburgh to a 10-3 edge. Kills by Lund, Van Buskirk and Williams put Pitt up nine at 14-5. A Carlton kill slowed the Panthers momentarily, but Pitt ran off seven straight after the putaway to vault ahead 21-6. Two kills and a block Ndee and an ace by Akeo aided the rally. North Carolina kept hope alive with four of the next six, three on Leath putaways. A Markovic killa nd solo stuff by Van Buskirk wrapped up the 25-10 win.
The teams played to a 6-all tie in Set 3 before Pitt pulled away with a 6-1 run. A kill and an ace by Lund and a kill and a block by Williams made it 12-7 Panthers. The Tar Heels were within two at 14-12 as Borup notched two kills. It was a five-point game at 18-13 after Markovic downed three kills. Another 4-2 UNC rally aided by two Leah kills and a stuff by Esterley and Borup had the TarHeels back in it at 20-18. Pitt scored five of the final eight Akeo notched a solo block Markovic and Williams turned in kills to get to 24-20 and Markovic capped the sweep with her 16th kill.
Courtesy: North Carolina Athletics
North Carolina’s hot streak was halted on Friday night, as the first-place Pittsburgh Panthers took down the Tar Heels in straight sets (25-18, 25-10, 25-21) to remain the lone undefeated team atop the ACC standings. The Tar Heels entered the weekend on a five-match winning streak, finishing the first half of ACC play at 10-8 (7-3 ACC), while Pittsburgh used its 13th straight victory to move to 16-4 (9-0 ACC).
The Panthers are the only ACC team to sweep the Tar Heels since 2014. Carolina did not drop a single three-set match all last season, as UNC’s last ACC sweep took place in Pittsburgh on Sept. 27, 2015.
Junior Taylor Leath led the Tar Heels with eight kills in the match, followed by Taylor Borup with five. Beth Nordhorn and Holly Carlton each chipped in four.
Kendra Koetter led Carolina’s offense with 13 assists, while Carlton put up 10.
Libero Casey Jacobs tallied a team-high six digs, while Leath, Carlton and Koetter each had three.
North Carolina out-blocked the Panthers 8.0-5.0 in the match, led by five stuffs from Katharine Esterley.
After three straight matches hitting above .300, the Tar Heels were limited to a .173 hitting percentage, while Pittsburgh registered a .341 clip. Sophomore Nika Markovic provided the spark for the Panther offense, hitting .500 with a match-high 16 kills.
North Carolina struggled with errors early, including making service errors after each of its first three points scored, to help the Panthers race to a 9-3 lead. Pitt stretched the lead to 16-8, but a solo block by Nordhorn kicked off a four-point run that cut the deficit in half, 16-12. UNC continued to battle back, pulling as close as three, 18-15, on a pair of blocks. However, after trading points to make it 21-18, Pittsburgh ran off four straight kills to capture the first set, 25-18.
Pittsburgh opened the second set with a 5-0 lead, and a seven-point run midway through the frame gave the Panthers a daunting 21-6 advantage. Leath mustered three kills down the stretch, but Pitt took the second set, 25-10. The Panthers out-hit the Tar Heels .464 to .038 in the frame, holding UNC without a block after the Heels had stuffed five in the first.
The third set was neck-and-neck early, as kills by Leath and Nordhorn knotted the score at six. However, a 4-0 run pushed Pittsburgh in front 12-7. Carolina quickly pulled back within two, 13-11, but never came any closer, and soon it was 22-20. Two straight points for Pitt set up match point. Nordhorn struck a kill to keep the Heels alive, but Markovic finished off the match with a kill to win the third, 25-21, and complete the sweep.
North Carolina’s road trip continues next weekend as the Tar Heels head south to the Sunshine State. UNC will face Florida State on Friday, Oct. 27, at 6:30 p.m. in a nationally televised match on ESPNU. The Heels close out the trip with a visit to Miami on Sunday, Oct. 29, at 1 p.m.
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