Sep 6, 2013
STORRS, Conn. -- Pitt volleyball could hardly have asked for a better start to the UConn Classic, winning in straight sets over Albany at Gampel Pavilion on Friday evening. Three Panthers (3-2) finished with double-digit kills in the 25-18, 25-14, 25-15 victory.
Kate Yeazel led the Panthers with 13 kills, falling just one shy of her career high, and hit an efficient .545 offensively. The junior also tallied five blocks, tying Jessica Boddy for the team lead. Jessica Wynn (11) and Mechael Guess (10) also hit double-digit kills on the night.
Pitt got off to a bit of sluggish start, but a timeout with Albany (0-4) leading 7-5 turned things around. The Panthers ran off the next four points, capped off with an ace from Jenna Jacobson and reclaimed the advantage by two.
Jacobson ultimately finished the day with five aces, four of which came later in the second set. That broke her personal best of three set last week against South Dakota. As a team Pitt served nine aces, which was its second-highest total of the year.
After Jacobson's ace in the first set, Albany was able to tie the score twice more, but the Great Danes never took over the scoring advantage. A 4-0 run that included kills from four different players gave them the breathing room they needed and that only grew as the frame wore on and Yeazel got hot.
With Pitt leading 16-14, Yeazel posted four kills and a block assist with Boddy. A setting error by Albany gave the Panthers the 22-14 lead and they sailed to the end from there.
Yeazel finished the opening frame with seven kills and hit .at a .636 clip (7-0-11).
The momentum and confidence Pitt gained at the end of the first set carried into the rest of the match. The Panthers jumped out to a 7-3 lead in the second set and although Albany came within two points on several occasions, Pitt never lost control of play.
The Panthers hit .294 (15-5-34) in the second set while the Great Danes came in at .000 (6-6-29). Pitt led in hitting for the entire match as well, finishing at .255 compared to Albany's .078 pace.
The Great Danes never strung together more than two points at a time in the second set while the Panthers enjoyed a run as long as seven straight points. That 7-0 run ended the frame. Jacobson had three aces during that streak, while Guess chipped in two kills and Wynn added a third.
Pitt never trailed, or even faced a tie score, in the third set. The Panthers' largest lead came on match point as they hammered in the final nail with a block from Boddy and Yeazel for 25-15.
Among Pitt's other statistical leaders on the night were Delaney Clesen and Lindsey Zitzke. Clesen registered 16 digs, while Zitzke totaled 16 assists. Jacobson also had 15 assists.
No Albany player was able to reach double figures in kills as the team finished with 22 as a team compared to Pitt's 43.
The Panthers will be back in action for two matches tomorrow. They will open with a 10 a.m. bout against Northeastern, a team they have never lost to in two tries. Pitt then takes on host UConn at 7:30.