No. 7 Pitt lost to a tough Towson team in four sets at the Fitzgerald Field House Saturday night in the final game of the Panther Challenge.
The loss for the Panthers (7-2) is the first against an unranked team in the regular season since Syracuse in 2020 and the first loss to an unranked team at home since Louisville in 2017. It is also the first regular season loss against a non-conference opponent since Penn State in 2019 and the first home loss to a non-ranked, non-conference opponent since Western Kentucky in 2016. The defeat for the Panthers also marks the first meeting between the two schools and the first time the Tigers (10-0) defeated a ranked opponent.
Pitt were within one point early on, but Towson broke out to a 12-3 lead on the back of an 8-0 run. Towson then went on a 9-3 run and finished off Pitt easily, 25-12, to win the first set.
The first set loss for the Panthers is the biggest losing margin in one set since a 25-9 loss to North Carolina in September of 2021. The Panthers also had a -0.147 hitting percentage and a .206 kill percentage in the first set, demonstrating how poor they were.
Pitt responded in the second set, battling throughout with Towson until they tied on points at 22 each.
The Tigers took the lead with a kill from junior middle blocker Aayinde Smith and then added a point when Panthers sophomore outside hitter Julianna Dalton failed to properly pass the ball properly on a serve, resulting in a reception error.
Pitt got one point back with a kill from senior setter Lexis Akeo, but Towson won the set, 25-23, off a graduate setter Fay Bakodimo kill.
Things looked much better for the Panthers in the third set, as they began on a 8-3 run. The Tigers closed the lead to three, at 13-10, but the Panthers then expanded the lead to 20-12 and shortly after, won the third set, 25-16.
Towson took control in the fourth set, but Pitt maintained a short distance early on. They broke away midway through the set with a 7-2 run that made it a 22-15 lead. Towson held Pitt off and won the final set, 25-18, to earn an historic victory.
Pitt will look to bounce back against Tennessee at home next Friday, Sept. 16.