PITTSBURGH – Duke could not convert a quick start into a sustained performance, falling to No. 10 Pitt 3-0 (20-25, 17-25, 17-25) Sunday afternoon at Fitzgerald Field House.
Duke (14-10, 8-7 ACC) utilized its block to establish a lead early, but Pitt (26-1, 14-1 ACC) found its rhythm at the end of the first set and took control of the remainder of the match.
The Blue Devil block caused Pitt problems as Lily Cooper totaled six and Leah Meyer had five. Unlike the two teams’ first meeting two weeks prior, Duke was unable to find its footing offensively. The Blue Devils hit over .300 against Pitt at home, but managed just a .065 clip Sunday on the road.
Pitt kept the Duke hitters mostly in check. Meyer led the way with eight kills but no other Blue Devil had more than five. Kayla Lund was one of three Panthers in double-digit kills, totaling 13 to lead all players.
“Pitt did a really good job of taking away things that worked for us in the past,” said head coach Jolene Nagel. “Pitt’s serve was really good today and their serve receive was a big difference. We needed to control the ball better. Our block did well but we needed to do more offensively.”
Despite 8.0 first-set blocks, Duke could not hold off a let Pitt rally. The Blue Devils held an 18-17 lead late in the frame, but the Panthers finished it off on an 8-2 run.
Pitt’s momentum carried into the second and third sets as the Panthers built leads in both Duke was unable to overcome. Pitt hit a combined .333 over the final two frames while holding the Blue Devils to a .082 clip.
Duke closes out the regular season with three-straight home matches, stating Saturday, November 17 against North Carolina