PITTSBURGH — Pitt volleyball is back to dominating non-conference opponents, with a sweep over High Point Sunday afternoon at Fitzgerald Field House.
Pitt (8-2) makes it back-to-back wins at home and in sweeps as well, with the win against James Madison Saturday night. Pitt is 3-1 at home this season, with their only loss coming against No. 7 Oregon last Thursday night and the other win coming against then ranked No. 15 Kentucky on Sept. 3 at the Petersen Events Center. Pitt is now 4-0 against High Point all-time, with this the third straight season with a victory over them.
High Point started off the better of the two teams in the first set. They built leads of 10-6 and 13-9, forcing two timeouts from Pitt head coach Dan Fisher.
Pitt would battle back, going on a 9-4 run to take an 18-17 lead and then would take the set, 25-20, with a 7-3 run.
High Point once again began better than Pitt in the second set, gaining advantages of 7-4 and 11-8. Pitt came back in the set, with a 7-3 run to take a 15-14 lead. Pitt would finish off High Point in the second set with a 10-4 run, including scoring the final five points.
Pitt, unlike the first two sets, dominated the third set, opening with a 6-1 lead and increasing it to 10-4, 16-5 and then winning 25-12 to take the match.
First-year setter Haiti Tautua’a has stepped up these past two games, starting in place of junior Rachel Fairbanks, who hasn’t played. Tautua’a led Pitt with 19 assists in the game, finished second with four digs and made her first career kill as well in the win.
“It’s been great,” Tautua’a said on starting the past two games.”It’s a great opportunity to be a leader on the court. Especially as a setter, you’ve got to be loud. That’s what I’ve been working on. It’s been great.”
Fairbanks, who is the main setter for Pitt, has been an important for Tautua’a in terms of her improving her game overall. Their work together, along with graduate Lexis Akeo, makes it one of the best units in the country.
“Just a lot of technical stuff, like finishing, footwork, finishing,” Tautua’a said on her work with Fairbanks. “The little stuff. I do rely on her. I go ask her questions and she’s very helpful.”
First-year duo of outside hitter Torrey Stafford and right side hitter Olivia Babcock led Pitt with eight kills each. Both had four digs each, tied for second on the team, while Babcock tied for first on the team with five total blocks and Stafford had three total blocks herself.
Stafford also led Pitt with four service aces, a season-high for her, and Babcock had two service aces himself, tied for her season-high.
Redshirt senior outside hitter Valeria Vasquez Gomez had the second most kills for Pitt with seven, while tied for first with six digs with junior libero/defensive specialist Emmy Klika.
Middle blockers in graduate Emma Monks and sophomore Rachel Jepsen tied for first with Babcock with five total blocks. Monks had six kills, while Jepsen had three kills on five attacks for a .600 hitting percentage.
Pitt Volleyball finishes their four game home stand with UMBC on Wednesday at 5 p.m.