The volleyball team not only swept two victories over the weekend at home but also weekly honors from the ACC.
The ACC named junior Mariah Bell player of the week, and first-year Nika Markovic freshman of the week.
Bell and Markovic were instrumental in Friday’s win against North Carolina State (overall 14-10, ACC 7-5) and Sunday’s upset over No. 8 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (overall 19-3, ACC 10-1 ACC) in which the Panthers (overall 17-7, ACC 8-4) handed the Tar Heels their first conference loss of the season.
The Panthers’ outstanding back-to-back performances helped the team move up from No. 42 to No. 30 in this week’s NCAA Rating Percentage Index rankings.
Bell made the most contributions for the Panthers, recording a total of 40 kills, 21 digs, seven blocks and three aces in the back-to-back five-set thrillers against the two North Carolina teams.
During the first night’s play against the Wolfpack, she made a career-high 22 kills, accompanied by 11 digs for a double-double — meaning she earned double digits in two of five statistical categories in one match including aces, kills, blocks, digs and assists. She also posted 18 kills and 10 digs against the Tar Heels for her sixth double-double of the season.
Markovic’s breakout performance tallied up to 29 kills and 19 digs for the Panthers over the weekend.
In her appearance in Friday’s game, Markovic earned a total of 10 kills, nine digs, two aces, and one block. She was also the top hitter for the Panthers on Sunday with 19 kills, and in addition to the 10 digs she tallied, Markovic got her first career double-double.
With the help of Bell and Markovic, the Panthers have now defeated their first top-10 team and their third top-25 team since No. 22 Michigan and No. 25 Colorado State.
Bell and Markovic, along with the rest of the Panthers, will continue ACC play this weekend when Pitt takes on the Clemson Tigers at home on Nov. 4 at 7 p.m.