Pitt volleyball continued their winning streak on Sunday, with a dominant three match sweep of Loyola (Chicago) on the road in the Rambler Invitational.
The win for the Panthers (6-1) is their sixth in a row after losing to the then No. 17 BYU Cougars in four sets in the season opener. It is also the first win for the Panthers over the Ramblers (2-6) since 1989, as it was the first match between the two opponents since 1992. The Panthers lead the all-time series 4-2 against the Ramblers.
Pitt started the first set with a 10-1 run and would go on to win it easily, 25-14. They hit .348 in that set, compared to Loyola’s -0.133 hitting percentage.
The Panthers faced a much better fight from the Ramblers in the second set, finding themselves tied at 11 midway. The Panthers broke the tie with three straight points and built-up a lead as big as 21-16, before taking the set 25-22.
Pitt came out on a 7-1 run in the third set, but Loyola countered by scoring six of the next seven points to cut the advantage to 8-7. Pitt would again go on another scoring run, 6-1, but Loyola again worked to keep it close on an 8-3 run to make it a two-point match at 17-15. Pitt then finished the set on a 8-1 run, winning the set and securing the sweep.
Graduate middle blocker Chiamaka Nwokolo played in her first full match of the season, playing in all three sets, as she has been battling back from injury. She made a team-high seven total blocks for the Panthers, including one solo block, while also making six kills and hitting .455.
First-year right side hitter Olivia Babcock led Pitt with 12 kills against Loyola, hit .364, while also making five total blocks and four digs.
Michigan State graduate transfer Emma Monks has asserted herself as a great middle blocker for the Panthers. She made seven kills on nine attacks, hitting .667, while also making five total blocks. Florida transfer in junior middle blocker Bre Kelley missed her third straight game after suffering an injury at Kentucky on Sept. 1.
Pitt volleyball returns home on Thursday, Sept 14, 7 p.m. to take on No. 6 Oregon at their first game of the season at the Fitzgerald Field House.