Oct. 18, 2013
PITTSBURGH -- Kate Yeazel led Pitt volleyball with 11 kills and the Panthers blocking game came up big to propel the team to a three-set win over Boston College at Fitzgerald Field House on Friday night. Pitt improved to 12-8 overall and 4-3 in the ACC, while the Eagles dropped to 8-11 and 0-7 in conference play.
The victory came by a relatively close score of 25-18, 25-22, 25-22, showing that although it was determined in three sets, the match was anything but straightforward.
Although Pitt rarely trailed for more than a few points, Boston College perhaps gave the home team a bit more fight than it was expecting. The Eagles took the opening point each of the first two sets, but the Panthers never trailed after a score of 2-1. The third set was a different story as there were five ties and three lead changes. Pitt didn't pull in front for good until 11-10.
The third proved to be the most harrowing. Pitt errors early kept Boston College in control. Service errors made it 6-4 and 7-5 for the Eagles, and a blocking error set the score at 8-6.
As Pitt straightened things out, momentum started to shift. A Boston College miscue gave Pitt the lead at 11-10 and a 7-3 run for the Panthers gave them a bit of breathing room. Even that did not last long, however. Momentum swayed yet again and the Eagles were able to knot the score at 20-20.
Few plays in the match were bigger than the next one. With Boston College threatening to take back the lead late in the game, the Panthers came up with a huge block from Kate Yeazel, KeKe Irby and Maria Genitsaridi that prevented the Eagles from stealing the show.
Delaney Clesen then made it 22-20 with a service ace before errors struck Boston College again. The night ended on a mishit, allowing Pitt to snap its three-match losing streak.
"We're not overlooking anyone in the ACC," said head coach Dan Fisher after the match. "They were a scrappy bunch. We leads of five, six, seven points and they kept coming back. Credit to them for pushing us to the limit."
Yeazel eventually finished the night with a team-high 11 kills and hit .304. Lindsey Zitzke put up 17 assists, and Clesen added 10 digs on the defensive side.
In the opening frame, Pitt distanced itself quickly from its opponent. At 16-6, it took its first double-digit lead, benefiting from a Boston College attack error. Kate Yeazel kept the advantage in double figures with a kill for 17-7 before the Eagles tried to climb back in the mix.
Following Yeazel's kill, 11 of 17 points when to Boston College, drawing it to within 24-18. While a number of those points came off the Eagles' own offense, they also got some help from some Panther miscues. When Boston College had called its second timeout at 13-4, Pitt's attack percentage was hovering around .400 while the Eagles found themselves in the negatives. By the end of the set, things had evened out somewhat with Pitt at .160 and Boston College at .000.
Boston College's push was not enough to keep Pitt from taking a lead despite fighting off two set points. Jenna Potts ended the frame with a block solo, her fifth block of the set.
At the first break, Pitt had totaled 5.0 team blocks while Boston College had yet to record a rejection.
Pitt's blocking game continued to be stronger in the second set, but Boston College also started to find a rhythm in other areas of the game. The Eagles' hitting percentage improved to .216 in the second and it resulted in a much closer contest.
Pitt took a lead for good at 4-3 and got its scoring advantage up to as many as six and as late as 16-10 on a block from Monica Wignot. Boston College then made another move. The Panthers were forced to burn their second timeout with its lead down to 20-19.
That last hurdle proved to the hardest to clear. Errors made their way into the Eagles' game at some inopportune times, preventing them from pulling front. Two attack errors made it 23-19 and Yeazel gave Pitt set point with her eighth kill. That put the frame out of reach and gave the Panthers a two-set lead heading into intermission.
The Panthers hit .250 in the second, which turned out to be their highest percentage of the match. Pitt closed out the night hitting .212 in the third set and ultimately .213 for the match. Boston College finished its night at .125. The blocking totals were even more lopsided with Pitt tallying 11.5 as a team and Boston College totaling 3.0.
Pitt will continue its run through ACC play on Sunday when it hosts Syracuse at 2 p.m. The match can be seen live on ESPN3.
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