Tennessee, Marshall hand Pitt its first losses


If the 21st annual Pittsburgh Invitational taught Pitt’s volleyball team anything, it’s that… If the 21st annual Pittsburgh Invitational taught Pitt’s volleyball team anything, it’s that a team is only good as its longest-lasting player. In this instance, Pitt had trouble sustaining its attack in the face of enduring opponents.

Pitt recorded only one win in the three games, while picking up its first two losses of the season.

The Panthers will resume action tomorrow with a game at Robert Morris. They will return home for their Big East opener against St. John’s on Sept. 22.

Tennessee 3, Pitt 1

Despite a delayed flight and a cancellation, Tennessee’s Lady Volunteers showed no problem making the connection between endurance and victory as they set themselves up for victory against Pitt’s volleyball team Friday night.

Tennessee (5-1, 0-0 SEC) handed Pitt (9-2, 0-0 Big East) its first lost of the season by going 3-1 in a match played at the Fitzgerald Field House.

A first-game win, 30-28, by the Panthers didn’t slow down a Tennessee squad that entered the match ranked 12th in the nation. The Panthers dropped the next three games in a row as the Tennessee defense picked up its tempo.

Tennessee recorded 36 individual blocks and 15 team blocks to the Panthers’ 23 and 11.5. Tennessee also clocked a higher attack percentage at .313 to Pitt’s .171.

A Pitt defense led by Jessica Moses and Meagan Dooley was unable to last throughout the entire match.

Pitt head coach Chris Beerman was not surprised by the Lady Volunteers’ skill, especially the team’s staying power.

“I went into this match thinking that whatever happens, we’re going to learn from it,” Beerman said.

“We’ll be back and we’ll be ready next time,” he added.

Pitt 3, Lehigh 0

The Panthers, however, were more than ready for their game against Lehigh (0-10) as they proceeded to sweep the first three games against the Mountain Hawks Saturday afternoon.

Despite some service errors early in the first game, Pitt took control and pounced on an often weak and random defense to mount a devastating series of spikes and blocks for a first-game win of 30-13.

The next two games further revealed Pitt’s inability to sustain its offense throughout an entire match. Although the Panthers won the next two, the margins of victory — (30-26, 30-18) — were less than their first.

Stephanie Ross led the team in a strong defense with 11 defensive digs, while blocks were spread evenly around much of the team.

Beerman saw this game as an opportunity to play some of the other members of the team, as well as to work on Pitt’s ability to mount a sustained attack.

Marshall 3, Pitt 0

Pitt’s ability was sorely tested in its game against Marshall (5-6) as the Thundering Herd put down a strong defense and a stable offense to hand Pitt its second loss of the weekend.

Marshall recorded 46 defensive digs to Pitt’s 34 and a total attack percentage of .306 to Pitt’s .049.

Pitt lost three straight (30-23, 30-16, 30-22) to the Thundering Herd to go 1-2 in the invitational tournament.