Sep 7, 2013
STORRS, Conn. -- Pitt volleyball won back-to-back matches for the first time this season and did it with a 3-0 win over Northeastern at Gampel Pavilion on Saturday morning. The Panthers (4-2) will wrap up the UConn Classic tonight at 7:30 against the host Connecticut Huskies, looking for their first tournament title of the season.
Pitt's first match of the day went its way by a score of 25-18, 25-16, 25-15. The convincing decision came with several strong individual performances, including Mechael Guess who finished with a season-best 14 kills and hit .423 in the process.
Morning agreed with the Panthers on Saturday, although play was close through much of the first set. The opening frame saw nine ties with most of those coming from 12-12 on. A 10-2 run for Pitt really changed the outlook of the match, however. Jenna Potts and Maria Genitsaridi combined for a block to knot things up at 16-16 and that started the run.
Pitt took advantage of Northeastern (2-4) collecting just two of the set's final 12 points. The turn of events appeared to take the wind out of the Huskies' sails for the remainder of the match.
Pitt has now won each of its last two matches in straight sets. The Panthers are 3-1 this fall in matches that go the minimum three frames.
Northeastern did not give away many points in the first set. The Huskies committed just four total errors. The Panthers created their own points, however, and most of those came from Kate Yeazel and Guess. The duo combined for 11 of the team's 12 kills. Potts also tallied four total blocks in the opening set.
By the end of the match, Yeazel had returned to double digits in kills, totaling 13 and bringing her weekend total so far to 27. Yeazel also hit .478 (13-2-23) against the Huskies. Potts finished her day with six total blocks and Jessica Boddy added five more. The Panthers tallied 11.5 total team blocks.
More errors crept into Northeastern's game as the match wore on and Pitt took advantage. After the Huskies hit .118 in the first set, that percentage dropped to -.025 in the second. The Panthers maintained a steadier pace, hitting .273 in each of the opening two frames. By the end of the contest, Pitt wrapped up at .297 compared to .048 for Northeastern.
Just as had been the case in the first set, a major run proved to be the game changer in the third frame for Pitt. Northeastern, who came from two sets down to defeat UConn in five last night, came out of the intermission with high energy. That did not last long. The Panthers got three quick points, two of which came off Huskies errors, for 3-2.
An 8-2 streak for Pitt later put the Panthers in firm control and gave them a 9-5 lead. The streak included two aces from Jenna Jacobson and kills from Yeazel, Guess and Jessica Wynn.
Jacobson finished with three aces in the match with Northeastern and now has eight in her last two bouts combined. As a team, the Panthers totaled six aces against the Huskies.
Northeastern never got closer than three points after the push from Pitt in the third and the Panthers came away with their most convincing set of the early day.
Jacobson's day ended with her first double-double of the season as the sophomore finished with 21 assists and 10 digs. Delaney Clesen also had 15 digs to lead the Panthers and Genitsaridi added 12 digs and a season-best four blocks of her own.