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Pitt Volleyball Powers Past Howard 3-0 For NCAA First-Round Win

Pitt Volleyball Powers Past Howard 3-0 For NCAA First-Round Win

PITTSBURGH — Pitt women’s volleyball advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament with a clean 3-0 sweep over Howard on Friday night.

Their first-round win marks the fourth consecutive year under seventh-year head coach Dan Fisher that the Panthers have advanced to the second round of the tournament.

Pitt’s win over the Bison also marks the second consecutive season that Fisher’s club (30-1) reached 30 wins.

The Panthers cruised from the first serve of the match at Petersen Events Center, while taking the first set 25-9. Three of the nine Bison points were off service errors from Pitt. Redshirt senior Stephanie Williams and senior Layne Van Buskirk led Pitt with three kills apiece in the first set.

Early in the second set, the Bison jumped out on the Panthers and forced Fisher to call at timeout as his team fell behind 10-6. Perhaps Fisher’s words were the difference. Pitt and their experience clawed back to take the set 25-21.

The third and final set played out similar to the second set. Pitt didn’t prove their dominance until the ladder half of the set when they rolled to a 25-14 victory.

Williams led the Panthers with 10 kills while hitting 41.2 percent on the night. The other Panthers who filled up the stat sheet were Chinaza Ndee (six kills), Kayla Lund (seven kills and nine digs), Layne Ban Buskirk (four kills), Alexis Akeo (25 assists and 8 digs), Sabrina Starks (10 blocks) and Hali Hillegas (11 digs).

The Bison wrapped up their season with a 20-13 record. They represented the MEAC conference as their regular-season champion, finishing their conference schedule with a 14-1 record.

The No. 6 overall seeded Panthers will be back in action at Petersen Events Center Saturday at 7 p.m. against Cincinnati in the second round of the tournament. Cincinnati handled VCU 3-1 in their first-round matchup. Pitt swept the Bearcats 3-0 in their second match of the season on August 8.

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Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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