Pitt splits weekend ACC matches


By Caitlin Hinsey / Staff Writer

The Panthers had mixed results for the second weekend in a row, dropping Friday night’s match at Virginia Tech 3-1 and winning Sunday against Syracuse 3-0.

“It was really good to refocus and get a win back at home and settle back into our groove, as we kind of lost it against Virginia Tech,” senior opposite Kate Yeazel said.

Both of Pitt’s opponents outblocked the Panthers, but it didn’t trouble the team too much.

Head coach Dan Fisher said that the Orange are “a good blocking team.”

Being outblocked isn’t a concern for the players, according to senior outside hitter Jessica Wynn.

“They are going to get their blocks, but it’s about how we respond,” Wynn said before pointing out that Pitt always outhits its opponents — including Syracuse, where Pitt had 17 more kills than its opponent.

With midterms over and players nursing injuries, Fisher said he looks forward to a break.

“It’ll be good to have a couple days off and come back Wednesday a little more refreshed,” the second-year head coach said.

Virginia Tech

Pitt (19-4, 7-3 ACC) appeared back in form in its first set against the Hokies (11-13, 4-7 ACC), winning 25-21, but proceeded to drop the following three sets 17-25, 17-25 and 21-25 at Cassell Coliseum.

The Panthers hit .081 with only three players recording more kills than attack errors. Junior middle hitter Amanda Orchard led the team with 11 kills and hit .500. Senior setter Lindsey Zitzke tallied 23 assists and 10 digs to earn her fifth double-double on the season.

Virginia Tech’s top player, outside hitter Lindsey Owens, led both teams with 14 kills but teammate middle hitter LaTasha Samson-Akpan hit .412 for the evening with nine kills. The Hokies also outblocked the Panthers 15.5-4.

In the final set of the match, Pitt surrendered the first nine points before the team got on the board. The Hokies’ lead proved to be insurmountable and Pitt ultimately fell.


Coming off the loss, the Panthers jumped out to early leads against Syracuse (8-15, 1-10 ACC) in each set before the team’s struggles caught up with it. Pitt went on to sweep the Orange 25-21, 25-23, and 27-25. Yeazel led the team with 14 kills with teammates Wynn and Mechael Guess, who came off the bench, adding 10 and 8, respectively.

After Syracuse tied set one at 21, the Panthers ran off four straight points, which included two attack errors from the Orange’s top hitter, Silvi Uattara.

The third and final set was a thriller as the teams exchanged points. Midway through the set, Pitt seemed to be in control before Syracuse came back within two, causing Pitt to call a timeout. With the score at 18-16, the teams traded points before the Panthers went on to finish off the Orange.

“We have been struggling in the third set,” Wynn admitted. “We’ve been letting teams back in, so we knew we needed to pick up our hitting and overall game.”

The Panthers travel on Friday to Durham to face top-25 opponent Duke.

“We need to stay on our mission to get to the NCAA Tournament,” Wynn said. “To lose to a team like Virginia Tech, frankly, just won’t get us there. We need to get these easy wins and also upset Miami or Duke the next few weekends.”