Pitt Ends Non-Conference Slate with Sweep Over No. 5 Ohio State
No. 12 Pitt played a high intensity match against No. 5 Ohio State and bested them in three sets, taking the sweep at Fitzgerald Field House on Sunday.
The Panthers (9-2) earn just their second sweep ever over a top five ranked team, with the last coming against No. 4 Penn State in 2019. It is also the first sweep over a top five ranked team at home in program history. The win is also the second straight sweep for Panthers head coach Dan Fisher over the Buckeyes (4-4), as they did so back in 2019.
Senior middle blocker/right setter Chiamaka Nwokolo led the Panthers with four blocks in the win over the Buckeyes. Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Nwokolo said that winning this game is important for Pitt moving forward and validates their hard work and improvement over the past week.
“Well this whole week we were working on giving our best effort and attitude,” Nwokolo said. “We believe when we give our best attitude and effort we can win any game. Having high standards and no expectations, we just came in with a lot of defensive intensity, working really hard on defense and working really hard on offense.”
Pitt started the first set off taking a 8-4 lead, but Ohio State responded by tying it at 11. Pitt then scored seven of the next points to create separation from Ohio State at 18-15.
The Buckeyes cut back into the Panthers lead, 23-21, but the Panthers won the first set off of two attack errors from the Buckeyes.
Both teams fought hard to take control throughout the second set, with Pitt only possessing a 16-15 lead. Pitt then scored nine unanswered points to take the second set and a 2-0 lead in the match. Redshirt junior outside hitter Valeria Vasquez Gomez made five kills for Pitt during that scoring run.
The Buckeyes got the lead, 12-9 to begin the third set, but the Panthers came back with a 6-0 scoring run to retake superiority at 15-12.
Ohio State rebounded to keep the match alive, tying the game at 22. Pitt took advantage of two attack errors from junior outside hitter Emily Londot and then used a kill from graduate right setter Courtney Buzzerio to win the set and the match.
Buzzerio led the Panthers in kills for the third straight game with 15 against the Buckeyes. She also finished first for the Panthers in hit percentage at .412, and kill percentage at .441.
Senior librero/defensive specialist Ashley Browske led Pitt with 14 digs and sophomore setter Rachel Fairbanks made 28 assists, while also providing 12 digs.
Pitt starts ACC play next weekend as they face off against North Carolina on Fri. Sept. 23
Great win to build some good momentum going into league play! H2P!