The NC State Wolfpack women’s volleyball team lost their Sunday televised match against the undefeated University of Pittsburgh by a score of three sets to one. The set results were as followed: losing set one 22-25, winning set two 25-22, losing set three 20-25, and losing set four 23-25. The unranked Wolfpack refused to quit throughout the match staging several comeback efforts that unfortunately fell short.
Pittsburgh narrowly won the first set and did so in a comeback fashion. They started off 6-0 in set two and looked as if they would run away with the set to go up 2-0 on the Wolfpack, but NC State rallied and eventually won the set to tie it all at 1-1. The third set was a nail-biter throughout and at one point was tied at a score of 10-10 before the Panthers started to take a slight lead. The Wolfpack fought hard to come back and cut it to 20-17 before errors set them back 24-17. A valiant comeback effort was led by Senior Kylie Pickrell’s serving fell short at a final score of 25-20. Set four followed the same script, where the Wolfpack marched back and tied the game at 23-23, but were unable to finish the comeback losing at a score 25-23.
The match may count as a loss in the record books, but NC State’s performance against an undefeated, top-10 team should give hope to fans the potential this team has. Coming in with a record of 9-8, this team looked better than their record shows. Senior Kylie Pickrell and sophomore Melissa Evans had big games for the Wolfpack. Pickrell totaled 36 assists and 6.5 points on 3 kills. She was a dominant facilitator and added a spark to her team with her relentless effort throughout. Evans was also a dominant force on the court adding 13 points with 11 kills for the Wolfpack. Although, the box score may not show it, Senior Makenzie Kuchmaner’s hustle was unrivaled on the floor today. She extended countless plays with spectacular diving saves giving her 11 digs and 13 receptions. Her heart and energy sparked the Wolfpack’s performance throughout the match allowing multiple comeback efforts. The Wolfpack’s front line did an excellent job disrupting the Panther’s hitters recording 17 blocks.
Pittsburgh Junior Nika Markovic proved too much for the Wolfpack to handle totaling 22 points with 17 kills, 2 aces, and 11 digs. Sophomore Chinaza Ndee and Junior Layne Van Buskirk also had big games for the Panthers totaling 22 kills and 10 blocks between the two. Pittsburgh’s star player sophomore Kayla Lund had an off day for herself, still managed to score 11 kills, but I believe the Wolfpack front line could be the reason for this.
The Panther’s only outscored the Wolfpack 76.5 to 69 in the match and also totaled more errors than the Wolfpack. Unfortunately, NC State’s errors came at untimely moments, including an attack error by Keira Moore to end the fourth set and ultimately the entire match.
The Wolfpack ultimately came up short in today’s match, but hopefully they can build off of this tough, well-fought match going into their next match against Boston College on Friday, October 19th and throughout the rest of the season.