Unable to overcome a Pitt offense hitting .448, the West Virginia University volleyball team dropped a 3-0 match at No. 19 Pitt on Wednesday evening, at Fitzgerald Field House, in Pittsburgh. The Mountaineers (9-10, 8-8 Big 12) fell to the Panthers (12-4, 10-4 ACC) in set scores of 25-8, 25-12 and 25-15.
“Pitt is a very good team,” sixth-year coach Reed Sunahara said. “We need to compete on every play for every point. We’ll get back in the gym and work on our weaknesses, so we can get ready for our next match.”
Senior outside hitter Athena Ardila led the way with seven kills, followed by junior outside hitter Kristin Lux with five. Freshman outside hitter/defensive specialist Skye Stokes also chipped in four kills on the evening.
Junior setter Lacey Zerwas dished out 18 of WVU’s 20 assists. Lux also dug a team-high five balls in the match, while sophomore middle blocker Emmy Ogogor registered a trio of block assists.
West Virginia finished the contest with 23 kills, 17 digs and four team blocks.
The Panthers rolled to a 17-5 lead to start the first set and never looked back. Consecutive kills from Ardila and Lux cut the Mountaineers’ deficit to 10 at 17-7, but Pitt claimed eight of the last nine points for the 25-8 win in the set and 1-0 lead in the match.
The second frame started similar to the first, with the Panthers taking four straight before the Mountaineers got on the board following a kill from senior middle blocker Briana Lynch. A trio of swings brought WVU within three, down 7-4. However, a 6-0 scoring run midway through the frame put Pitt on top for good at 19-9. Ardila and Zerwas each posted a kill late in the match, but it wasn’t enough, as the Panthers took a 2-0 lead after winning the set, 25-12.
The teams traded points to start the third, as a kill from Ardila brought the Mountaineers within three, down 13-10. A 3-0 run by the Panthers increased their lead to four at 17-12, as WVU called a timeout to regroup. Ardila came up with a huge swing out of the stoppage, but West Virginia couldn’t recover, as Pitt scored eight of the last 10 points for a 25-15 win in the set and a 3-0 victory in the match.