Aug 30, 2013
COLUMBIA, Mo. -- The University of Pittsburgh volleyball team won its third consecutive season opener with a 3-0 victory over Arkansas State on Friday afternoon at the Hearnes Center. The Panthers (1-0) defeated the Red Wolves (0-1) 25-19, 25-20, 25-18 in their first match of the Tiger Classic. They will continue play against the host Missouri at 7:30 p.m.
Jessica Wynn led all players with 17 kills, falling just two shy of her career high, while Lindsey Zitzke posted her first double-double of the season. The junior totaled 18 assists and 14 digs.
A straight-sets match looked likely from the beginning as Pitt won the first six points of the match and eventually took a 7-2 lead. Strong hitting from the Panthers and a handful of attack errors from the Red Wolves made the score lopsided for some time.
At the end of the first set, Pitt was hitting .281 compared to .045 for Arkansas State.
Arkansas State was able to chip away at the score but never took the lead. A 10-3 run for the Red Wolves made the score 15-14 in favor of Pittsburgh, but that was as close as they got. The Panthers went on a run of their own, winning nine of the next 10 points. That gave them set point at 24-15, and although Arkansas State made them work for it, the Panthers won 25-19.
The next two sets were tighter affairs despite Pitt's ability close the match out in three sets. The second was Arkansas State's turn to get off to the quick start as they went up 7-3 early. After four times midway through the frame, however, the tides turned in favor of the Panthers for good.
Kate Yeazel came up with some kills at some opportune times. One came at 22-17, giving Pitt its largest lead of the set. She then gave the Panthers set point at 24-20 and set the stage for Wynn to finish it off with a kill of her own.
The beginning of the third set was enough to make Pitt sweat a little bit as Arkansas State again came out of the gates quickly. It took until 13-12 for the Panthers to take the lead for good. The advantage grew as the Red Wolves gave up some points on both attack and service errors.
The Panthers closed things out for good relatively smoothly. They took a six-point lead, its largest at that time, as Wynn pounded a kill for 21-15. With an 8-4 run to end the match, Pitt secured its first win of the day and the season.
Pitt eventually finished the match hitting .290 as a team. In addition to leading the team in kills, Wynn also set the standard in attack percentage. The junior hit .500 (17-2-30). Amanda Orchard chipped in nine more kills and Jessica Boddy added eight. Boddy also tallied four blocks.
Zitzke was not the only Panther with double-digit assists as Jenna Jacobson finished with 13 as well. Delaney Clesen totaled 15 digs to lead all players.
No player reached double digits in kills for Arkansas State, which hit .038 in the match. Sarah Kemp led the squad with seven kills.
The win was Pitt's first in the series with Arkansas State, which now leads 3-1 all-time in the teams' meetings.