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No. 11 Yellow Jackets Fall to No. 7 Panthers in Five

PITTSBURGHย โ€” After roaring out to a 2-0 lead, No. 11 Georgia Tech volleyball (13-2, 4-1 ACC) was topped for the first time in conference play this season by No. 7 Pitt (14-2, 5-0) in five sets on Friday night in Fitzgerald Field House. The Yellow Jackets dropped the 3-2 (23-25, 23-25, 25-17, 25-15, 15-8) decision despite senior outside hitter Tamara Oteneโ€™s stellar outing as she led the match in kills.

Otene piled up a personal best as a Yellow Jacket of 23 kills along with 13 digs for her eighth double double of the season. Behind Otene, junior outside hitter Bianca Bertolino did damage from the service line with four aces on top of six kills and seven digs. Defensively, a pair of middle blockers served as central stoppers with four blocks apiece. One being sophomore Anna Boezi with six kills, she was joined by graduate Afedo Manyang with four kills of her own. Setting duties were split on the night between senior Bella Dโ€™Amico with 18 assists and freshman Heloise Soares with 21 assists.

No. 11 Georgia Tech vs. No. 7 Pitt

October 6, 2023 (Tyler Rover)

How it Happened

Both sides went on early tears to begin the match as Georgia Tech got going with a four-point run, but Pitt answered by stringing together seven straight for a 9-5 lead. The Panthers would push ahead by six with a three-point burst soon after, 12-6, but the Yellow Jackets drew back within one by claiming six of the next seven points, trailing just 13-12. The two sides continued to trade blows as Pitt threatened up to a 23-20 advantage, but the White and Gold rallied to pull out the final five points as Otene clinched the first set with three straight kills, 25-23.

Mirroring set one, both units put together four-point spurts early as the Jackets went up 6-3 before the Panthers turned the tables for an 8-7 advantage. Tech worked its way up to a 13-10 lead after taking five of the next six points, but Pitt once more got hot and took five consecutive chances, moving in front, 15-13. The behemoths would go nearly tit for that from there up to a 22 all draw as the Panthers broke the tie, but the Yellow Jackets took the following three points to once again pull away late. A Bertolino ace would seal the second set for the White and Gold, clinching a 25-23 triumph and 2-0 match lead.

Pitt began to claw back in set three, creating separation midway through by stringing together six straight points for a 15-7 advantage. Tech would keep fighting, taking seven points in nine chances to pull within four and trail 19-15, but the Panthers would press on to win their first set of the match, 25-17.

The home squad carried its momentum into set four by taking the first six points and continued to roll. A five-point streak by the White and Gold would keep things competitive as they pulled back within five, trailing 15-10, but Pitt put the match out of reach with six ensuing points to lead it, 21-10. The Panthers tied up the match with a 25-15 fourth set win.

Down to the final set, Tech opened with a Bertolino ace and rolled out to a 4-2 lead with kills from Boezi and Otene. The Jackets owned their final lead at 5-4, but Pitt turned the tide with four consecutive points for an 8-5 advantage. The White and Gold continued to hang as they trailed just 10-8, but the Panthers took the final five chances to close the door for a 15-8 set win, escaping the match on top.

Up Next

Georgia Tech will round out the road trip at Virginia (8-7, 1-4 ACC) on Sunday at 1 p.m. in Charlottesville, Va.

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