Volleyball: Winning streak ends for Panthers at Ball State Tournament

By Torie Wytiaz

The Pitt volleyball team used freshman Jessica Boddy’s career-best performance to salvage one…

The Pitt volleyball team’s record dropped to 9-4 after losing to Ball State and Wyoming last weekend.

Luk Felak, For The Pitt News

The Pitt volleyball team used freshman Jessica Boddy’s career-best performance to salvage one win on its weekend trip to Indiana for the Ball State Tournament.

After falling to Ball State and Wyoming, the Panthers (9-4) concluded the weekend by defeating Wright State, as Boddy tallied 14 kills in 19 attempts.

“I have been very pleased with Jessica’s performance this weekend,” head coach Toby Rens said of his freshman outside hitter. “Her preparation has been superior, and it shows in the matches.”

Ball State 3, Pitt 0

After winning seven matches in a row, the Panthers were swept by the Cardinals Friday night in three sets, with scores of 25-17, 25-14 and 25-16.

The offense struggled in the match, and no Pitt player managed to record double-digit kills. Freshman Kate Yeazel led the Panthers with nine kills.

Defensively, Pitt libero Margy Acton had a game-high 16 digs, while senior Alexa Campbell contributed 10.

The Panthers held an early 4-3 lead in the first set, but the Cardinals used an 8-3 run to secure a lead that they never relinquished.

Ball State kept that momentum in the second set of the match, never trailing en route to its 25-14 victory.

In the third and final set of the match, the Panthers once again jumped out to an early lead at 3-0. However, the Cardinals battled back to win the next five points and took the lead all the way to the overall match victory.

Senior middle blocker Jasmine Dittrich noted that the Panthers were unable to recover from the runs put together by Ball State.

“In the past, we have been able to make up for runs of points by our opponent,” Dittrich said. “That caught up with us in a match against a high-quality opponent.”

Wyoming 3, Pitt 0

The Panthers looked to return to their winning ways on Saturday, but they were swept for the second match in a row by set scores of 25-16, 25-18 and 25-18.

Errors plagued the Panthers against the Cowgirls, who committed 20 kill errors in comparison to their 23 team kills. Dittrich had five of those kills on 13 attempts.

“We made too many unforced errors,” Rens said. “Our style of play has been consistent, but we were not able to do that in this match against an experienced Wyoming team.”

The Cowgirls set the tone in the first set, leading throughout.

The same scenario played out in the second set, in which Wyoming held a 13-5 lead. The Panthers fought to reduce the lead to five points at 23-18, but two kills sealed the victory for the Cowgirls.

In the third set, the Panthers managed only five kills, while the Cowgirls posted 16 in their win to seal the match victory.

Pitt 3, Wright State 0

Despite an 0-2 tournament record leading into the Wright State contest, the Panthers secured a victory in their final match with scores of 25-21, 25-22 and 25-16.

Boddy led the way with 14 kills, while Dittrich contributed to the offense with 10 kills. Acton led all players defensively with 18 digs. The Panthers out-performed the Raiders in kills, digs and blocks.

The first set saw eight ties and four lead changes, but Pitt used a Wright State hitting error to gain the 13-12 lead — an advantage that lasted for the remainder of the set.

The Panthers trailed 12-11 in the second set, and four ties ensued after that point. An eventual 6-0 run gave Pitt the 22-16 lead, which it held to win the set.

Pitt earned its only match victory by defeating Wright State in the third and final set. Once again, the Raiders kept the set close, using a 5-0 run to bring the score to 10-9.

However, the Panthers completed the 3-0 sweep with 17 team kills in the set.

Sophomore setter Lindsey Zitzke felt that her team was able to focus its efforts in the final match of the weekend.

“We knew going into this match that we had to play our own game on our side of the net and not worry about what the opponent was doing,” Zitzke said. “We were able to learn from our two losses and work on not committing errors and being consistent.”

The Panthers return to action Tuesday, Sept. 18, when they travel to face crosstown rival Duquesne at 7 p.m.

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