PITTSBURGH – The No. 13 University of Pittsburgh volleyball team swept visiting No. 12 Washington, 25-18, 25-13, 25-17, to win the Panther Invitational Saturday afternoon at Fitzgerald Field House.
With the victory, the Panthers improved to 9-0, earning their best start to a season since going 12-0 in 1983. The Huskies dropped to 4-2 on the year.
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Senior setter Kamalani Akeo posted 19 assists, and redshirt sophomore Kylee Levers had 18. Redshirt senior libero Angela Seman recorded 13 digs to pace the Panthers.
As a team, Pitt hit .425 on the day, compared to the Huskies' .149. The Panthers out-blocked Washington, 7-3, and had 44 assists while UW posted 30. Pitt picked up 34 digs, and the Huskies had 25.
Set One: No 13. Pitt 25, No. 12 Washington 18
The Panthers came out on top in the opening set of the match, downing Washington 25-18. Pitt's offense was dominant in the frame, tallying 17 kills and a .244 clip. The squad was led by Lund, who hit .545 with six kills, while Williams added five and hit an even .500. The Huskies struggled with their attack, connecting just eight times on 33 attempts to hit .061.
The Panthers used a five-point run to get out in front of Washington, 17-12, after being knotted 12-12. The Huskies committed three errors in the run, forcing them to take a timeout midway through but it wasn't enough to stop Pitt who remained consistent. Washington fell being six following a kill by Markovic, but were unable to stop the Panthers who went on to reach set point 24-16. The Huskies fought off two set points but a final put away by Lund ended the frame.
Set Two: No 13. Pitt 25, No. 12 Washington 13
Pitt made quick work of Washington in the second set, as the Panthers held the Huskies to just 13 points in the set. Pitt's defensive efforts proved worthy in the frame as the Panthers out-dug Washington 9-3 and put up five team blocks. Williams paced the Panthers offensively, recording six kills.
Set Three: No 13. Pitt 25, No. 12 Washington 17
The Panthers carried their dominance into the third and final set, out-hitting the Huskies .652 to .276 with zero errors. Lund had seven kills on eight attempts to post .875 in the attack percentage column, while Williams killed 4-of-5 for .800.
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Although the Huskies kept it close for the first half of the set, the Panthers surrendered the lead only once, as Washington took a 2-1 lead. Following that, Pitt kept the advantage with four more ties in the set, the latest being 9-9. The Panthers ended the match outscoring the Huskies 5-2 to claim a 25-17 win.
No. 13 Pitt will close out regular season tournament play at the Coastal Carolina Classic Sept. 14-15. The Panthers will take on College of Charleston and the host Chanticleers.