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Pitt Volleyball

Panthers Poach Gators 3-1 to Advance to Elite Eight

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The No. 2 Pittsburgh Panthers defeated the No. 3 Florida Gators in four sets in Madison, Wis. to advance to the Elite Eight for the third consecutive year. 

Right side hitter Courtney Buzzerio paced the Panthers with 19 kills, 8 digs and 5 blocks, while 11 service errors helped bog down the Gators.

The match opened with five ties on the way to an 11-11 score as both teams tested the waters. Pitt took command of the set from there with a 7-3 run. Florida closed the gap to 21-19, prompting a timeout by Panthers’ head coach Dan Fisher. Florida took the next point, but a pair of Gators errors bookended kills by middle blocker Serena Gray and outside hitter Cam Ennis as Pitt closed out the first set 25-21 with a 4-0 run. 

Pitt took a 4-1 lead to begin the second set, but four Panthers errors helped the Gators pull ahead 8-6. The Panthers settled down to take a 13-9 lead, prompting a Florida timeout. A service ace by outside hitter Cat Flood pushed Pitt’s lead to 22-16 before Florida made a late push. The Gators appeared to draw within one on a Gray attack error, but Fisher challenged the play to make it 24-21. Gray combined on a block with Buzzerio to push Florida to the brink of elimination as Pitt took the second set, 25-21.

Pitt built another 4-1 lead in the third, this one punctuated by a Buzzerio service ace. They couldn’t put the Gators away on their first try, however, as 12 errors contributed to a 25-17 set loss, ending the Panthers’ streak of eight consecutive tournament sets won. 

After playing to a 10-10 knot in the fourth frame, the Panthers pulled ahead for good, although Florida never let them get comfortable with the lead. A Buzzerio kill ended the set 25-22. 

The Panthers will face the winner of No. 4 Penn State vs No. 1 Wisconsin at 8pm on Saturday, December 10. 

Wisconsin won the 2021 National Championship, their first in program history, while Pitt ended the Nittany Lions’ 2021 season in the Round of 32. 

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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Chasman54
Chasman54
1 month ago

GOOD LUCK girls keep up the great work

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