Trailing SUNY Geneseo 2-0 Thursday evening, the Pitt-Bradford volleyball team battled back to force a fifth set but could not complete the comeback, falling 3-2.
In a contest that was fairly evenly matched, it was the Knights who proved to be more resilient in the end, winning by scores of 28-26, 25-18, 21-25, 22-25, 15-5.
The first stage was a tight-knit unfair until Pitt-Bradford jumped ahead 22-18. Geneseo responded with four straight points to draw even. The teams would exchange the lead as both sides fought off set point. Leading 26-25, a critical Panther service error changed momentum, and the Knights ripped off three straight points to win the opening frame.
Midway through the second set, Geneseo began to pull away, fueled by five unanswered points. The Panthers would get no closer than two, and the Knights scored the last four points to push the Panthers into a 2-0 hole.
Pitt-Bradford rallied in the third set, trailing by as many as five, and demonstrated better poise down the stretch, closing out the visitors on Christina Rauh's service ace. The Panthers were forced again to battle back in the fourth set, eventually erasing a two-point deficit with five consecutive points. Leading 24-22, Alexis Dhayer's kill attempt was initially ruled out-of-bounds, but the officials met and overruled the decision, declaring the ball was tipped. Dhayer was credited with the kill and the match moved to a decisive fifth set.
The final frame featured little dramatics as the Knights surged ahead 6-2 and never relinquished the lead, handing the Panthers their first loss in six matches.
Kirsten Platz finished with a team-high 11 kills, Rauh recorded nine and two players had seven. Rauh tallied 34 assists and Sydney Shepherd contributed two aces. Defensively, Rauh posted 21 digs, falling one kill shy of a triple-double. Dhayer logged 17 digs, Brianna Majot totaled 16 and Courtney Holzwarth added 13. Rose Thacker registered five blocks, and Erin Fagan and Mandy Finch each had two.
Pitt-Bradford drops to 14-4 on the season and will host Franciscan and Houghton Saturday in a tri-match.