ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford women's volleyball team captured wins in its first two games at the Rochester Tournament hosted by the University of Rochester, pulling off a thrilling five-set win in the opener against Wells and a convincing three-set sweep over Utica in the nightcap.
"We started out playing really well against Wells, which is a very strong team," Head Coach Tom Roof said. "Showing that we can go five sets, though, and bounce back was a big boost for us. That carried over into the game against Utica, and we played extremely well. It shows what we are capable of doing when we play together."
Pitt-Bradford and Wells were neck-and-neck right from the start. The Panthers tipped the scale in the first two sets as both went down to the wire, taking set one, 26-24 and set two, 27-25.
Wells got the best of the Panthers in the final two sets to force a fifth.
In the deciding set, the Panthers were down, 4-1, and flipped the script and scored five straight points to go up, 6-4. Both teams traded points with neither team extending its lead past two until both squads met at a 12-12 tie.
Pitt-Bradford scored three straight points to secure the win as Riley Anderson earned a kill, and blocks assisted by Katie Treat and Elizabeth Johnson on the final two possessions helped force Wells attack errors.
Emily Cleveland led the Panthers in game one with 10 kills. Payton Orzech assisted 17 and Caitlyn Schnell had 13 assists of her own. Laura Hildebrand had 21 digs, her second-straight game of 20 or more digs.
Ally Easton also came up big for the Panthers with nine kills, three solo blocks and as many blocks assisted.
In game two, the Panthers got off to a dominating start, claiming a 25-6 win in set one.
Pitt-Bradford took care of business in set two by a score of 25-13 score in set two, then once again held Utica to single digits in set three, 25-9.
"We got a lot of production from a lot of different players in the second game," Roof said. "It shows our depth and how many different players can come in and help us."
Schnell and Orzech assisted 14 apiece, and Hildebrand led the team with 12 digs.
The Panthers have now won three straight and improve to 4-3 on the season.
Pitt-Bradford will play its final two games of the tournament Saturday with a matchup at 12 p.m. vs. Hamilton before wrapping it up against SUNY Poly at 2 p.m.