Volleyball, Fall, Sports

BC Drops Third ACC Matchup in a Row with Shutout Loss to Panthers

After back-to-back losses in ACC matchups last week, Boston College volleyball sought to regain momentum and win its first conference game of the season against Pittsburgh on Friday. The Eagles had previously lost their first two ACC contests of the year by one set to Notre Dame and by two sets to Louisville, respectively. This time around, not a single set went in favor of BC. 

BC (11–6, 0–3 Atlantic Coast) struggled mightily against the No. 8 Panthers (12–2, 3–0) for the entirety of the game and were ultimately swept in a blowout 3–0 loss. Jenna Pollock led the way for the Eagles with seven kills, but it was not enough to compete with the Panthers, who had three players with more than eight kills each. The scores of the three sets were 25–12, 25–19, and 25–15. 

BC head coach Jason Kennedy declined to make a comment after the loss. 

From the beginning of the match, BC appeared uncomfortable away from its home court. Pittsburgh got off to a quick start in the first set with an assertive 7–2 run, culminating in an ace by Pitt’s Olivia Babcock for the Panthers’ seventh point. BC had no answer defensively with only seven digs in the first set. Pittsburgh obliterated BC in the full-game digs column by a margin of 32–21. 

The Panthers played with a fast-paced offense throughout the game, involving crisp passing and rapid attacks by the hitters. The quick tempo overwhelmed BC early as it could not adjust and set up its blockers against Pittsburgh’s hitters. 

Following the one-sided first set, BC put up a significantly improved effort in the second set. The revamped group came out with an energy that matched the Panthers and exhibited more aggression on attacks. The Eagles’ aggression forced Pittsburgh into making more mistakes, tallying four errors in the set after none in the first set. 

The set commenced with a 5–0 Panthers run, ignited by Rachel Fairbanks’s unrelenting serves. The Eagles fought back, forcing five Pittsburgh errors in quick succession to knot up the score 8–8. 

Immediately succeeding BC’s run, Pittsburgh returned to its offensive quickness and domination that propelled it in the first set, sparking a 6–0 run that propelled the Panthers into complete control with a 14–8 lead. 

BC continued to fight back, cutting the lead to 18–14, but that’s as close as it would get to the third-ranked team in the ACC. The Panthers closed out a six-point set victory on an ace by Fairbanks. 

In the third and final set, BC completely unraveled. The Panthers dominated with their offensive kills and forced the Eagles to make costly errors. In total, BC accumulated a whopping eight errors in the set, eliminating any chance of competing in the match. At a certain point, the Panthers held an 18–3 lead. 

BC showed pride towards the end of the match with a 9–4 run where the Eagles forced the Panthers into making a handful of errors. But, once again, BC could not capitalize in an ACC matchup this season. 

In addition to the high number of errors and poor defense, BC had one of its worst hitting percentages of the season at .085 as a team. Pittsburgh, on the other hand, was the polar opposite with an impressive .422 hitting percentage.  

The defeat marks the second time this month the Eagles have lost in straight sets—the first being against Tennessee on Sept. 1.   

October 1, 2023