The Pittsburgh Panthers’ women’s volleyball team is continuing a dominant run of form following a perfect 2-0 weekend with wins over Miami on Friday as well as Florida State on Sunday. The eighth-ranked Panthers were flawless, winning both matches in 3 sets, not even entertaining the concept of an upset within the confines of Fitzgerald Field House. All of this was done on alumnae weekend, with many Panthers’ past making appearances. Before the match on Friday, some of the members of last year’s Final Four team all received rings in celebration of the Panthers’ first-ever national semifinal appearance. Following these two wins, the Panthers have pushed their win streak to 12 straight matches, now sitting at 18-2 on the year (8-0 in ACC play).
MIAMI MATCH RECAP:
Miami (11-8) gave the Panthers some trouble early in the first set, but a late rally on the serve of Serena Gray would prove to give the Panthers the space they needed to start strong. The second set was the most decisive set of the three, with the Panthers stepping on the gas early, leading 7-3 after the first ten points. They would watch their lead dwindle to two points only once in the whole set, but a serving barrage from Jr. Cat Flood was all the Panthers needed to take a 2-0 set lead.
Miami put up a solid fight in the final set, but it was too little, too late. At one point down 17-21, the Hurricanes dragged themselves back into the set, keeping the set tied as late as 22-22 thanks to a kill from Angela Grieve (Grieve led the match in kills with 13). The comeback would be for naught, as two points off the serve of Rachel Fairbanks would lock up the Panthers’ seventh ACC win.
MATCH STAT LEADERS FOR PITT:
KILLS: Courtney Buzzerio (12)
ASSISTS: Rachel Fairbanks (21)
DIGS: Rachel Fairbanks (21)
BLOCKS: Chiamaka Nwokolo, Serena Gray (5)
FLORIDA STATE MATCH RECAP:
Courtney Buzzerio has been a phenomenal addition from the transfer portal for head coach Dan Fisher’s Panthers. The Iowa transfer continued to be the Panthers’ most dominant offensive weapon, as her 16 kills were twice as many as any other player. After staving off a Seminoles comeback attempt in the first set, Pitt won a second set that was closer than the score may seem. With the score sitting at 20-18 Emma Fairbanks served the rest of the set out, winning five straight points.
The third set started and ended the same, with Courtney Buzzerio’s kills. Despite a more team-focused offensive attack through the first two sets (4 Panthers would finish with hitting %’s higher than .350), the third set belonged to the star Panther. 7 of Buzzerio’s 16 kills came in the third and final set, on only 11 attempts. After retaking the lead at 15-14 off a Buzzerio ace, the Panthers would not surrender the lead.
MATCH STAT LEADERS FOR PITT:
KILLS: Courtney Buzzerio (16)
ASSISTS: Rachel Fairbanks (23)
DIGS: Julianna Dalton (7)
BLOCKS: Serena Gray (7)
The Panthers remain at home for another weekend of ACC play. Up first is Notre Dame (9-9) on Friday the 21st at 7, followed by the biggest match of the season so far for Pittsburgh. ACC rival second-ranked Louisville (17-1) comes to town Sunday at 1 PM for a matchup of the last two undefeated teams in ACC play, as well as two top-10 ranked teams nationally.