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The Pitt News

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 | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
By Delaney Rauscher Adams, Staff Columnist • July 12, 2024
Opinion | Women pop stars and the pressure to evolve
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • July 10, 2024

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Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
By Delaney Rauscher Adams, Staff Columnist • July 12, 2024
Opinion | Women pop stars and the pressure to evolve
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • July 10, 2024

Pitt Volleyball sweeps Notre Dame for win No. 16

On Sunday, Pitt Volleyball visited Notre Dame to take on the Fighting Irish for a crucial ACC matchup. Pitt came into this matchup ranked No. 8 in the country with a record of 15-3 (6-1 in ACC). Notre Dame came in with a record of 10-5 (4-3 in ACC). The Panthers were victorious and swept the Fighting Irish 3-0.

In the first set, the Panthers had a dominant start. An explosive offense emerged from the Panthers. Pitt Volleyball leads the ACC with blocks, and throughout the entire game, the team had 13 blocks, proving this stat. First-year outside hitter Torrey Stafford led the Panthers with an electric start to this matchup. Throughout the set, she had a total of six kills, the most on the team. She proved to be such a force for the team, as she maintained a high vertical throughout the match. 

Additionally, Pitt’s graduate transfer blocker Emma Monks contributed to this assertive open with four kills. Junior setter and right-side hitter, Rachel Fairbanks had an aggressive start as well. She led the Panthers with three digs. Pitt had a total of 13 kills in the first set, compared to Notre Dame who ended with nine. The Fighting Irish fell to the Panthers in the first set, with a final score of 25-16, Pitt. 

In contrast to a Panther controlled first set, the second set proved to be a back-and-forth matchup. Differing to the prior set, the Fighting Irish began strong. 

Notre Dame proclaimed the team’s control, by leading in the early stages of the set. The team maintained a cushion lead. Notre Dame’s sophomore outside hitter Lucy Trump led the team, as she had six kills in the second set. Notre Dame saw a sudden burst of energy, as they scored ​​consecutively off the Panthers with hopes of having a tied-set game. 

Kills from Trump and senior middle blocker Charity McDowell set the team up with a seven-point lead. Although Notre Dame had maintained a lead throughout the majority of the set, Pitt retaliated. Down by seven, the Panthers called a timeout. But this timeout started a comeback for the Panthers. 

Fairbanks continued to play a dominant role for the Panthers and assisted in the Panthers’ comeback. She had numerous game-impacting assists for her teammates. Pitt caught up to Notre Dame, bringing the game within two. Fairbanks made crucial blocks towards the conclusion of the set, which set her team up for success down the stretch of the game. Pitt completed the comeback, winning the set 25-23. Pitt had a total of 13 kills and 16 digs, while Notre Dame had 12 kills and 21 digs. This comeback truly showcased the Pitt squad’s toughness and physicality, and showed a lot about head coach Dan Fisher’s team culture and collective talent. 

In the third set, Pitt initially came out fierce. The team proved to have an advantage on the blocking side of the court. First-year right side hitter Olivia Babcock had shown a variety of serves, and she aced the Irish to put her team at a four point lead to start the set. 

Along with Babcock’s versatility in serves, Fairbanks also showed a versatile player on the court as well. She leads the team with 404 assists on the season, but she also had five kills as well throughout the course of the match. 

Although Pitt started out strong, Notre Dame began to make a comeback. The Fighting Irish came back with only a four-point differential, and with this, Fisher took a timeout. Right out of the timeout, Pitt scored two consecutive points. Fairbanks got a service ace which helped to put this game to rest. Although the Fighting Irish kept fighting, the final score of the third set was 25-19, Pitt. 

This dominant win was exactly what Fisher was looking for in his team, after previously being swept by the Cardinals last Friday. The Panthers rallied together to sweep the Fighting Irish. Although Pitt controlled the larger part of this match, the team did have eight service errors, while Notre Dame only had one. This was one of the few mistakes Pitt made. On Notre Dame’s side, head coach Salima Rockwell explained that her team needs to play tougher when the team is down late in the match. 

The No. 8 Panthers return home on Wednesday afternoon to play Virginia. The game will be streamed on the ACC Network, beginning at 7 p.m. 

About the Contributor
Lily Peters, Staff Writer
Lily Peters is a sports staff writer for The Pitt News. She is a part of the College of General Studies class of 2027 and is majoring in Media and Professional Communications. Additionally, she is pursuing a certificate in Television and Broadcast Arts.