BC Shows Offensive Promise, but Loses in Three Sets to ACC-Best Pittsburgh

With the game in her hands, Pittsburgh’s outside hitter Stephanie Williams took advantage of a set from teammate Angela Seman to deliver the final blow, spiking the ball past diving Boston College volleyball players. The Panthers surrounded Williams in celebration, continuing their 10-game winning streak, and the Eagles accepted their sixth conference loss.

Pittsburgh (14-4, 7-0 Atlantic Coast) defeated BC (5-13, 2-6) in just three sets, creating a scene all too similar to their latest match-up last season, when the Panthers won the game three sets to one.

The first set was a comfortable win for the Panthers, ending with an eight-point lead. Pittsburgh’s strong offense coupled with a multitude of BC service and reception errors resulted in a fairly easy Panther victory.

In the second set, however, the Eagles began to prove themselves. They kept the Panthers on their toes, as they cut out many of their service errors and created a more successful offense. Now facing a strong Eagle offense, Pittsburgh failed to recreate the comfortable lead that they enjoyed in the previous set.

While both teams stepped up their game, the score remained close: both teams stayed within one point of each other for the majority of the set, with the lead swinging back and forth between the Panthers and the Eagles. While BC found success point after point through middle blocker Amaka Chukwujekwu, the Panthers overall had a higher hitting percentage of 0.302 compared to BC’s 0.185. Despite losing the set 25-22, the Eagles sent a clear message: they were ready to compete.

BC opened the third set with two points from the get-go, but Pittsburgh found its footing and put up four points to recapture the lead. Williams, joined by Pittsburgh’s Kayla Lund and Nika Markovic, collectively scored 32 points, ultimately leading their squad to a final seven-point win.

The Panthers came out victorious in all three sets, but this is not to say that BC was unsuccessful. Chukwujekwu and Williams scored 12 and 9.5 points, respectively, with Chukwujekwu earning a hitting percentage of 0.846. Sophia West also stepped up, putting four points on the board with a hitting percentage of 0.286.

Head coach Chris Campbell acknowledged BC’s success in their middle attack, specifically regarding Chukwujekwu and West.

“We were able to feed them, they had a really high percentage and got a lot of kills,” he said. “It’s just a question of whether we can extend that and get them more opportunities to try to get more kills.”

BC’s offensive success was not unchallenged. Pittsburgh continued to push its attack, led by Chinaza Ndee, Williams, and Lund with high hitting percentages of 0.417, 0.381, and 0.350, respectively.

While the Panthers defeated the Eagles in three consecutive sets, both teams made good showings. BC created a very strong offense through their middle attack, and Pittsburgh shined with five players all scoring at least 8.5 points. At the end of the day, the Panthers had more kills, blocks, a higher collective hitting percentage, and less errors than the Eagles. This dominance led to their solid victory, continuing their win streak and remaining undefeated in the ACC.

Featured Image by Sam Zhai / Heights Staff

October 15, 2017