Weekend Sports Recap: Volleyball remains unbeaten ahead of top-10 matchup

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Weekend Sports Recap: Volleyball remains unbeaten ahead of top-10 matchup

Junior Kayla Lund led Pitts win against Ohio State with with 13 kills.

Junior Kayla Lund led Pitts win against Ohio State with with 13 kills.

Issi Glatts | Senior Staff Photographer

Junior Kayla Lund led Pitts win against Ohio State with with 13 kills.

Issi Glatts | Senior Staff Photographer

Issi Glatts | Senior Staff Photographer

Junior Kayla Lund led Pitts win against Ohio State with with 13 kills.

By Stephen Thompson, Assistant Sports Editor

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Volleyball

No. 10 Pitt volleyball continued their dominant start to the 2019 season with a clean sweep of the ChampYinz Invitational this past weekend. The Panthers won in straight sets against all three of their opponents and have yet to lose a set so far this year. They are 6-0, with all their wins coming by way of the sweep, holding the longest sweep streak to start a Pitt volleyball season since 1978.

The Panthers opened the ChampYinz Invitational against Ohio State on Friday in a special match at PPG Paints Arena. The usual stars were steady for Pitt. Junior Kayla Lund, redshirt senior Stephanie Williams and senior Layne Van Buskirk led with 13, 11 and eight kills, respectively. First-year setter Lexis Akeo once again led the way with 31 assists.

The Panthers started slow against the Buckeyes, falling behind 6-1 and 10-5 in the first set, but came back to win 25-21. Ohio State didn’t fold in the following sets, but the Panthers used dominating closing runs to win the final two sets, 25-19 in each, and take the match.

Play moved back into the friendly confines of the Fitzgerald Field House on Saturday, where the Panthers hosted previously undefeated Green Bay. But once again, the Panthers dispatched their overmatched opponents easily by scores of 25-17, 25-15 and 25-18 in three sets.

The Panthers then faced Duquesne in the nightcap, securing a match and invitational win after defeating the Dukes in yet another sweep. Read more here.

Van Buskirk and Lund joined redshirt sophomore Hali Hillegas on the All-Tournament team, with Lund taking home MVP honors.

The Panthers are next in action on Wednesday night at the Fitzgerald Fieldhouse for a top-10 matchup with No. 9 Oregon. The match is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. and will be televised on ESPNU.

Men’s soccer

Pitt men’s soccer opened their home schedule with a victory Friday night. After dropping their first two matches of the season, the Panthers rebounded with a 3-0 win over the Liberty Flames under the lights of Ambrose Urbanic Field.

The Panthers used a balanced offensive attack, but it was headlined by star junior forward Edward Kizza. Kizza struck quickly, heading home a cross from junior midfielder Matt Bailey in the third minute.

This was followed by a long free kick from first-year midfielder Veljko Petkovic, which went over the goalkeeper’s head and found the back of the net to make it 2-0 Panthers before the intermission. Constant pressure from Pitt led to a 7-2 advantage in shots at halftime and made scoring opportunities plentiful.

And if you don’t trust those numbers, just ask Panthers sophomore keeper Alexander Steinbach, who needed only one save to preserve the shutout.

The Panthers would tack on one more in the 82nd minute from first-year forward Josh Hesson and hold on for the 3-0 win.

Pitt continues the homestand on Monday night when they welcome Delaware at Ambrose Urbanic Field. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.

Women’s soccer

After an undefeated start powered by first-year sensation Amanda West, Pitt women’s soccer had fallen in back-to-back road contests and looked to rebound when they returned to Pittsburgh for a pair of home matches.

The Panthers turned in an undefeated weekend to close the first week of September. The Panthers tied the University of Rhode Island 1-1 on Friday and shut out St. Joseph’s University in a 2-0 win on Sunday.

Pitt fell behind early in their first match of the weekend after URI sophomore forward Rebecca D’Anna scored off of an errant Panther pass. The Panthers threatened on multiple occasions, but the Rams maintained the slim difference.

Pitt was finally able to break through in the 85th minute, when first-year forward Sydney Marasco scored off of a West corner to knot the score at one a piece. But neither team was able to break through in two overtimes, leaving the final score at a 1-1 draw.

With another chance to get back in the win column on Sunday afternoon against St. Joseph’s, the Panther offense came out stagnant. West was active once again, creating multiple scoring chances, but unable to finish the play. It took more than 70 minutes of game time, but she would eventually leave her fingerprints on this match.

In the 73rd minute, West was tripped in the box, awarded a penalty kick and scored into the left corner to break the scoreless tie. Then, in the 75th minute, West and redshirt sophomore midfielder Juliana Vazquez combined to set up first-year forward Margret Arnadottir for her first career goal.

First-year goalie Caitlyn Lazzarini made her first start and finished with no goals allowed and three saves to preserve the 2-0 Pitt victory.

The Panthers next draw the VCU Rams on Friday night in Pittsburgh. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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