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The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

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Opinion | It’s okay to not be experienced in your 20s
Opinion | It’s okay to not be experienced in your 20s
By Ashanti McLaurin, Staff Columnist • 1:55 am
Micro-reviews of the 2024 Best Picture nominees
By Ore Fawole, Staff Writer • February 25, 2024

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Opinion | It’s okay to not be experienced in your 20s
Opinion | It’s okay to not be experienced in your 20s
By Ashanti McLaurin, Staff Columnist • 1:55 am
Micro-reviews of the 2024 Best Picture nominees
By Ore Fawole, Staff Writer • February 25, 2024

No. 8 Pitt volleyball falls to No. 6 Louisville 3-0

Louisvilles+Aiko+Jones+%2815%29+spikes+the+ball+against+Pittsburghs+Rachel+Fairbanks+%2810%29+and+Serena+Gray+%2821%29+in+the+second+set+during+the+semifinals+of+the+NCAA+volleyball+tournament%2C+Thursday%2C+Dec.+15%2C+2022+in+Omaha%2C+Neb.+
AP Photo/John S. Peterson
Louisville’s Aiko Jones (15) spikes the ball against Pittsburgh’s Rachel Fairbanks (10) and Serena Gray (21) in the second set during the semifinals of the NCAA volleyball tournament, Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022 in Omaha, Neb.

Coming into Friday’s matchup, expectations and nerves were high for the Pitt volleyball’s rematch against the same Louisville team that eliminated them from last year’s NCAA Women’s Volleyball Final Four. 

In a hostile KFC YUM Center, with over 11,000 fans in attendance, the No. 8 Pitt volleyball (15-3, ACC 6-1) failed to overcome the noise, losing 3-0 against No. 6 Louisville (15-2, ACC 6-1).

In the first set, the Panthers got ahead early. First-year right-side hitter Olivia Babcock started the top-10 matchup with a kill. After three attack errors and a kill by Babcock, the Panthers found themselves ahead of the Cardinals 5-0. Louisville recorded its first point in the form of a service error. Stafford quickly answered with another kill and an attack error, making the score 7-1 in favor of Pitt.

The Cardinals quickly answered back, showing the Panthers the capabilities of their high-powered offense and defensive prowess. Louisville answered, storming back to close the score to 12-10 due to a combination of Cardinal kills and attacks. 

The Panthers extended their lead 15-10 due to a kill from Pitt graduate student middle blocker Emma Monks. But the Cardinals answered back powerfully. Louisville fought back to tie the game at 18 all, with the Cardinal faithful roaring loudly and overtaking the momentum. Unfortunately for the Panthers, this momentum swing would lift Louisville to a first-set win.

Louisville stormed back, winning the first set 25-21. Louisville displayed their ability to operate their offense, passing efficiently and succeeding on kill attempts on a high level. The Cardinal defense also showed their dominance, which led them to last year’s national championship Game. Louisville out-blocked the Panthers six to three as well as out-recording the Panthers in digs 39 to 31. The Cardinals also recorded a game-leading eight block assists.

The Panthers would go on to drop the following two sets to the Cardinals, losing 25-23 in the second set and 25-22 in the third set. Although the score showed a three-set sweep of the Panthers, it didn’t display how the Panthers performed.

Despite the loss, the Panthers’ aggressive offense was on full display. Pitt recorded over 108 total attacks, along with 44 total kills and 42 assists. Junior setter Rachel Fairbanks shined as a facilitator, assisting 33 total times in the loss. Fairbanks also added an efficient .500 hit percentage for the Panthers.

The first-year phenoms also shined despite the loss. Stafford added ten total kills, and Babcock added nine for the Panther attack. 

Although the loss came as a sweep, the Panthers displayed their ability to compete in daunting environments. The Panthers’ loss, although disappointing, gives Pitt a lot to learn from and build on as they continue their stretch of ACC. 

The Panthers return to action in South Bend on Sunday at 1 p.m., facing Notre Dame (10-5, 4-3 ACC) on ACCNX.

About the Contributor
Dylan Grace, Staff Writer