Web Exclusive: Volleyball smashes Robert Morris

By Jay Huerbin

The Pitt volleyball team improved its record to 4-8 after defeating Robert Morris, 3-0, on… The Pitt volleyball team improved its record to 4-8 after defeating Robert Morris, 3-0, on Tuesday night. Senior Kelly Campbell’s 16 kills led the Panthers as they won three sets. Campbell also recorded five blocks and seven digs. ‘I thought Kelly Campbell did a great job of playing her position and doing what was required of her,’ said head coach Toby Rens. ‘Throughout the match she did a really good job of staying aggressive and putting Robert Morris on the defensive, which helped set the tone for us as a team offensively.’ Senior Nichole Taurence also led the team, recording her second double-double of the season, and freshman Hannah Swysgood contributed with four blocks. With the win, the Panthers ended a five-game losing streak, which included three consecutive shutout losses at the Loyola Marymount Tournament in Los Angeles this past weekend. ‘The biggest thing about the Robert Morris match is that they are a very solid team,’ said Rens of ending the streak. ‘They are very well-coached. For us to play like we did and to be in control is a great thing. We executed our game plan very well.’ The Colonials (8-4) started the first set with a kill, but the Panthers answered back. After another kill by the Colonials to make the set 2-1, Pitt took control and never trailed as it won the first set, 25-20. The second set did not start well for the Panthers, however, as an eight-point run by the Colonials put them in a hole, 12-5. Pitt refocused, though, and tied the game at 12-12 and once again led the Colonials the rest of the set, eventually winning 25-17. Robert Morris continued to put up a fight in the third set, but the Panthers’ superior blocking skills earned them a 25-16 win in the final set. After defeating the Colonials, Pitt has now shut out opponents three times this season. The Panthers host the Pitt Invitational this weekend, facing Gonzaga and Eastern Michigan tomorrow and Virginia Commonwealth on Saturday. ‘Keeping the morale up and momentum going is definitely important,’ said Rens of this weekend’s tournament. ‘There will be different styles of play that we will have to prepare for, but we’re certainly going into it planning to win our own tournament, while expecting to be challenged at the same time.’