Pitt made a comeback against rival Cincinnati, taking the last two sets after falling behind 2-1, to win their first match of the BYU Invitational Friday in Provo, Utah.
The Panthers (3-1) take their third straight victory of the season with the 3-2 win over the Bearcats (1-3). It also featured the first matchup between the two schools since the Bearcats upset the Panthers, 3-2, at the Petersen Events Center in the second round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament. With the win, the Panthers tied the all-time series, at 10 wins each.
Both teams split the first two sets and both teams winning their set with a score of 25-20.
The third set of the match went down to the last few serves, as Pitt tied it at 22. Cincinnati managed to take the set, getting three kills on the next four serves to take a 2-1 lead.
With the threat of losing another opening weekend match, like they did against San Diego last Friday, the Panthers knew they had to up the level of their play.
They started out the fourth set by dominating the Bearcats, as the Panthers took a 13-5 lead early. The Bearcats responded by going on 14-6 run to tie the set at 19.
Pitt then took control, by taking advantage of two Cincinnati errors, two kills by sophomore outside hitter Julianna Dalton, a kill from graduate right side hitter Courtney Buzzerio and a service ace from graduate outside hitter. This meant Pitt scored six straight points and won the fourth set 25-19.
The Panthers had no problem with the Bearcats in the final set. They started with a 5-1 lead and then made it 9-5, before once again scoring the final six points to win the set, 15-5, and the match as well.
Sophomore setter Rachel Fairbanks played a fantastic game against Cincinnati, amassing 33 of the team’s 59 assists. Those 33 assists are a career high and are the sixth-most in a game in Pitt history. She also led Pitt with 11 digs in the match.
Dalton led the Panthers with 20 points, 17 kills and 38 attacks, while Buzziero added 13 attacks and 27 assists of her own.
Graduate middle blocker Serena Gray also starred for Pitt. She made 11 kills, 19 assists and led Pitt with a .579 kill percentage and a .474 hit percentage.
Pitt plays again on Friday, taking on Utah State at 7 p.m. before finishing the weekend up against the home team in No. 10 BYU, Saturday night.