Pitt volleyball places six on All-ACC teams


The Pitt volleyball team placed six players on the 2016 All-ACC teams, highlighted by first-team members Stephanie Williams (13) and Jenna Potts. Jeff Ahearn | Senior Staff Photographer

By Steve Rotstein | Sports Editor

After discovering they were heading to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2004 on Sunday night, Pitt’s volleyball players had a new reason to celebrate Monday.

The Panthers placed six players on the various All-ACC teams, second-most in the conference behind North Carolina with seven. Two players made the All-ACC First Team, two made the All-ACC Second Team and two more made the All-Freshman team.

Redshirt senior Jenna Potts and redshirt freshman Stephanie Williams earned first-team honors while junior Mariah Bell and sophomore Kamalani Akeo received second-team honors. First-years Nika Markovic and Layne Van Buskirk made the All-Freshman team, and Akeo was also named the ACC Setter of the Year.

Akeo tied for the conference lead with 1,300 assists on the season — good for an average of 10.92 per set and third best in the ACC.

Potts totaled 150 blocks on the year to finish second in the ACC, making her the Panthers’ all-time leader with 563 total blocks for her career. Her 502 block assists are also a school record.

Williams returned from breaking her foot twice last season to become one of Pitt’s most reliable offensive options in her first full season with the team. She ranked fifth in the ACC with 438 kills, and her 3.78 kills per set average ranked fourth in the conference.

Bell, meanwhile, registered 382 kills for a 3.29 kills per set average. She also finished third in the conference with 42 aces.

Markovic returned from an injury midseason to compete in Pitt’s final 10 matches, helping the Panthers win nine out of 10 to finish the regular season. She had 10 kills in Pitt’s dramatic comeback win over North Carolina State and a career-high 19 kills in an upset of No. 8 North Carolina the same weekend, earning ACC Freshman of the Week honors for the second time.

Van Buskirk was another two-time ACC Freshman of the Week, leading the team and finishing second in the ACC with a .359 hitting percentage.