No. 10 Pitt easily swept Utah State in three sets in the second game of the BYU Nike Invitational on Friday night at Smith Fieldhouse in Provo, Utah.
The Panthers (4-1) defeated both Hawaii and Texas A&M in sweeps last weekend in the Texas A&M Invitational. The Panthers also beat Cincinnati, which saw them come from 2-1 to win 3-2 in a five match thriller. The win over the Aggies (2-2) is the first ever for the Panthers, as the only other meeting between the two teams was a sweep by the Aggies in 2000.
Pitt and Utah State battled back and forth throughout the first set, with the game tied at 15. Pitt then broke out on a 5-1 run to make it 20-16 and both teams traded the next five points, giving Pitt the first match, 25-21.
Both teams fought again early in the second match, with the score tied at 12 points each. The Panthers then created separation from the Aggies, with a 9-2 run to bring the lead to 21-14. The two teams went back-and-forth the next four points, allowing the Panthers to win the set, 25-18.
Pitt managed to close out the third set brilliantly to complete the sweep. They took 11 of the final 14 points and finished on a 7-0 run with graduate middle blocker Serena Gray serving.
The Panthers had a hitting percentage of .493, completing 41 kills on 69 serves. It is the highest hitting percentage for the program in a match since 2016 against Robert Morris.
Gray played a great game against Utah State, leading the team in blocks with five and hitting her eight kills with a .667 percentage.
Sophomore setter Rachel Fairbanks led Pitt in digs for the third straight match with seven, and also led with 22 assists.
Sophomore outside hitter Julianna Dalton tied with Gray to lead the Panthers with eight kills and led with 18 attacks. Redshirt junior outside hitter Valeria Vasquez Gomez made seven kills on a career high .600 hitting percentage.
Three players finished with .500 hitting percentage with 10 or more hits, the first time since that Robert Morris game.
Pitt faces off against No. 7 BYU Saturday night at 9:30 P.M. ET, with both teams looking to rise up in the rankings.