PITTSBURGH – Kate Yeazel had a career-high 14 kills to guide the Panthers volleyball team (4-2) to the University of Pittsburgh Panthers Invitational title with a 3-0 sweep of Butler (4-2) on Saturday night (25-17, 26-24, 28-26) at Fitzgerald Field House.
Pitt did not drop a set the entire weekend as the Panthers recorded three set sweeps against Coastal Carolina, Howard and Butler. Jasmine Dittrich was named Tournament MVP as she tallied 26 kills on the weekend, eight blocks and hit at a .309 clip (26K – 9E – 55TA). Alexa Campbell and Lindsey Zitzke were also named to the all-tournament team.
“I was extremely pleased with the total team effort from start to finish this weekend,” head coach Toby Rens said. “Friday night we showed heart and focus and I was pleased with how we executed our game plan. Tonight against Butler, we battled and it is extremely pleasing to see that we didn’t drop a set the entire weekend.”
The Panthers opened the match by outscoring the Bulldogs 10-4. Pitt kept Butler at a comfortable distance for the entire frame as the closest BU would come was three at 16-13. Jessica Wynn registered six kills in the set and Yeazel connected on all four of her swings.
After trailing for most of the entire second set, the Panthers had a furious rally to close the frame and took a 2-0 advantage into intermission. Butler seized the early lead on a Pitt attacking error to go up 5-4. BU then held the lead until the Panthers, who were trailing 23-18, closed the set on a 6-1 run led by Yeazel which helped Pitt capture a 26-24 victory. Yeazel had seven kills on 12 attempts in the set.
The third set had 16 ties and six lead changes until Pitt ultimately captured the tournament title with a 28-26 victory. The two teams battled back and forth, and Pitt had three set point opportunities before Alexa’s Campbell’s kill gave the Panthers the win. Campbell had a team-high six kills in the third set.
Butler’s Rachel Barber had a team-high 12 kills and Maggie Harbison also reached double digits with 10.
The Panthers are back in action on Tuesday, Sept. 4 with a road contest at Cleveland State. Pitt then travels down to New Orleans next weekend to participate in the Allstate Sugar Bowl Collegiate Classic hosted by Tulane. The Panthers will play Sam Houston State, Tulane and Mississippi State at the tournament.