The No. 9 Pitt volleyball team traveled down to Columbia, South Carolina, to take part in the Carolina Classic, and they emerged undefeated in three games, topping No. 23 Rice 3-2 on Friday, No. 18 Washington State 3-1 on Saturday afternoon and unranked host South Carolina 3-0 on Saturday night.
The season-opening matchup with Rice was a back-and-forth affair that saw the Panthers and Owls exchange blows before heading into the fifth set all knotted up at 2-2. In that final set, Rice ran out to a 5-1 lead, but Pitt eventually fought back to tie it at 12-12. Rice then went up 14-13, but two errors put Pitt on top for the first time in the set. And with Pitt ahead 15-14, Missouri transfer Leketor Member-Meneh came up with a game-winning kill.
Against Washington State on Saturday, Pitt dropped the first set but came back to take the final three. Kayla Lund came up with a 13-kill, 10-dig double-double, leading Pitt in both categories for the second straight game, as she had 16 kills and 16 digs against Rice. Three of Lund’s kills came on a 10-2 run by Pitt that put the team up 14-9 in the final set, but Washington State fought back to make it 17-16. Then, with the game tied 23-23, Chinaza Ndee and Valeria Vazquez Gomez put the game away with two consecutive kills.
South Carolina would be Pitt’s final opponent of the weekend, and the Panthers would make easy work of the Gamecocks, sweeping them 3-0. Serena Gray, Kayla Lund and Chinaza Ndee led the way with nine kills each, and Pitt would finish with an advantage in kills (41-28), assists (39-28), service aces (6-2), digs (35-25), and blocks (13-6) over South Carolina.
The dominant showing in the Palmetto State gave Pitt head coach Dan Fisher his 200th career win at Pitt, making him one of just 11 coaches across all sports at Pitt to reach the milestone. Fisher will look to add to that total next weekend, when Pitt travels to Knoxville to face No. 10 Baylor and Tennessee.