PITTSBURGH - A balanced offensive attack helped the University of Pittsburgh volleyball team (2-2) defeat Coastal Carolina (0-4) in straight sets (25-20, 25-11, 25-23) on the opening night of the Pittsburgh Panthers Invitational at Fitzgerald Field House in front of 973 fans.
Four Panthers had at least six kills, led by Jasmine Dittrich with nine. Setter Lindsey Zitzke dished out a game-high 32 assists and Margy Acton contributed a game-best nine digs. Coastal was led by Gabriella Horvath who had a game-high 11 kills.
"I first have to give a shout out to the crowd. Almost 1,000 people here, it was an awesome atmosphere," Pitt head coach Toby Rens said. "For the team aspect, I thought we did an excellent job of executing our game plan and keeping our composure. I thought we made some good adjustments during the week in preparation, and it was a total team effort tonight."
The Chanticleers gained an early 8-5 advantage in the first set, but the Panthers answered with a 4-0 run sparked by Dittrich who connected with Zitzke for numerous quick set kills at the net. Dittrich finished with six spikes on nine attempts in the frame (.444 hitting percentage).
The Panthers largest lead of the set was six at 19-13, but a 4-1 CCU run forced Pitt into a time. Out of the called timeout, each team would score three points before Dittrich and Mechael Guess each tallied a kill and combined for a block to end the first set, 25-20.
Behind three service aces by Zitzke, Pitt raced out to a 7-0 advantage in set two. The Panthers held a comfortable lead the entire set, with its largest lead reaching 14 on the final kill of the stanza by Kate Yeazel. Pitt was helped out by CCU hitting at a .000 clip in the set (5K - 5E - 19TA). Pitt's Alexa Campbell had a team-best four kills in the frame.
The third set was closely contested throughout, with neither team gaining more than a four point advantage (CCU led 7-3 early on). The set featured 11 ties and three lead changes, and with frame knotted at 23-23, CCU had a serving error and a hitting error in consecutive plays which ended the game.
In the opening game of the Pittsburgh Panthers Invitational, Butler (3-1) defeated Howard (0-2) in three sets (25-13, 25-22, 25-14).
The Panthers Invitational continues tomorrow beginning at 11 a.m. with Butler and Coastal Carolina. Pitt will be in action at 1 p.m. against Howard and then at 7 p.m. in the tournament finale against Butler. Fans can access live stats, a live in-game blog and stats by clicking on the Tournament Central page.