Pitt’s volleyball team was back in action on Friday against Miami and the Hurricanes didn’t put up much of a fight. The Panthers remained unbeaten, sweeping the match 3-0, to move to 14-0. For the team, it was the third straight sweep of an opponent. It was barely a match lasting only about an hour.
The win was a significant one for Pitt. Not only do they keep their momentum but they also won their 14th match in a row to start the season, a program record.
Pitt easily took the first set with little issue. Miami didn’t look particularly good but I thought that Pitt was mostly on their game and they won that one, 25-15. The second set was more of the same. Well, actually, it was much worse for Miami. The Panthers got out to a 9-0 start and ultimately took that one, too, 25-8. The second set was particularly ugly for the Hurricanes. They mostly looked disinterested and put up little resistance.
The Panthers again got off to a great start in the third set, leading 11-3 before Miami mercifully called a timeout. Pitt would go on to win there, 25-13.
I was expecting Pitt to get more of a challenge here, frankly. I’d have to go back and look but this may have been the easiest win they’ve gotten all year. You very rarely see a team win in straight sets by this much - particularly in conference. I assume Miami lost quite a bit from last year’s excellent 22-6 team because they mostly looked a mess out there. The loss drops them to 6-4. They just look nothing like last year’s team.
Miami had a problem getting clean hits off on offense, often finding Pitt blockers, and didn’t do much defensively to stay in it, either. They looked pretty flustered, to be honest, and the front line of Pitt forced them out of their game. They were often trying to hit the ball around them and just didn’t get good shots off. Sometimes they settled for a lob, that often didn’t work. Others they merely hit the ball out of bounds. I don’t know how many errors they had but it was quite a bit. Just not a great night for them. Absolutely no offense to them but, often, they did not even resemble a D-I program to me. This just looked like a very bad team but perhaps it was an off night for them.
Many times, they had trouble with their digs, bumping the ball too hard over the net. Pitt’s front line had a field day there and simply recorded an easy kill on a spike, not even needing to set up their offense. In that sense, setter Kamalani Akeo got a bit of a rest tonight.
One thing that was interesting was the crowd. I don’t know what the final attendance was but it was a pretty nice crowd. Great to see people getting behind the program.
To be fair, though, the Panthers also just looked like they were running on all cylinders. Typically, head coach Dan Fisher gets a little animated but tonight was maybe the quietest I’ve seen him. Just very little to complain about. I mean, when you get up 15-2, like they did in the second set, there’s just not much to complain about. Fisher didn’t take a single timeout all night and I’m not sure I’ve ever seen that. Probably, I’m guessing, but it’s a rare occurrence for sure.
I know I’ve talked quite a bit about Pitt losing seniors Akeo and Angie Seman after this season before. Both have some adequate replacements coming in but man, Pitt is going to miss both of them. Their ability to scramble to make saves on balls that look unreachable, Seman in that regard, in particular, is something that’s hard to replace, as is Akeo’s setting ability.
Kayla Lund, for my money, is the team’s All-World performer if you’re talking about someone who does it all. She’s probably the best hitter, is an effective back line player, and even leads the ACC in serving aces. She does it all and, for her part, she does a lot of ‘making plays out of nothing,’ too. But those two are a big, big reason the program has gotten to where it is.
Great start to the weekend for Pitt. Next, they’ll take on Florida State at home on Sunday at 1:00 p.m.