Alfred, NY -- Despite losing a late lead in the first set of their match, the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford Women's Volleyball team responded with a balanced attack to easily take the next three sets to win the match against AMCC opponent Alfred State by a final score of 3 to 1.
The first set saw both teams struggle to grab momentum early, as neither team was able to grab a lead larger than three points until an Alyssa Martin Kill saw the Panthers take a 19-15 lead. They would be unable to sustain that lead as the Pioneers took nine of the next eleven points, including the final six in a row to take the first set 21-25.
In the second frame, the Panthers were able to increase their hitting percentage from .075 to .320, committing only 2 errors on their way to a 25-16 victory. It began in a similar fashion to the first set, as the teams split the first ten points of the set evenly. After taking a 6-5 lead on a service error, Junior Outside Hitter Emily Cleveland took over on the serve and quickly picked up three service aces and two errors to push the Panther lead to five. Pitt-Bradford used the momentum of Cleveland's three aces to quickly build a nine-point advantage, which they were able to maintain throughout the rest of the set to even the match at 1.
Pitt-Bradford continued to roll offensively as the match moved into the third set, as they opened the action with a 12-4 run. Alfred State was able to recover and cut the lead to only three points. However the Panthers responded following a time out, as they were able to outscore their opponents nine to three to close out the set 25-16. They hit a match high .385 in the third set, collecting 13 kills on only 26 swings and addind in 5 blocks.
The Panthers dominated the majority of the 4th set as they used another big time offensive run to open up an 11 point advantage. Cleveland was a major part of the attack again in the 4th as she had 3 kills and a block to help jump start the rally. Riley Anderson chipped in 3 kills and Tabitha Walker held serve for 6 straight points to put Pitt-Bradford up 21-9. They were able to survive a late rally from the Pioneers that saw the hosts cut the lead to 6, but were able to break the serve and trade side outs to finish the match with a 25-17 win.
Head Coach Tom Roof said, "Emily Cleveland was unstoppable tonight and they didnt have an answer for her." Cleveland finished with 16 kills on 27 swings and added in 3 service aces and a half block. She hit an astounding .481 for the entire match. Roof added that "Riley (Anderson) also probably played her best game of the year and Katie Treat had an excellent game on the right side which helped us balance our attack. It helped us stay unpredictable as they were unable to focus on just one player." Anderson finished with 11 kills on 33 swings, while also chipping in on the defensive effort collecting 14 digs and a block. Treat Also tallied 11 kills and blocked 2 attacks. Setter Tabitha Walker dished out 26 assists and Libero Laura Hildebrand recorded 27 digs.
On the win, Roof said, "It is nice to reestablish ourselves after a .500 weekend in the quad match. We were able to come out and get a win against a tough conference opponent on the road, which is always good. We were able to sweep them when we played earlier this season, and we knew they would be improved the second time around."
The victory moves the Panthers above .500 on the season with a 10-9 record. They also have a 2-1 record in conference play. They will continue conference play this Saturday, when they travel to Steubenville, OH to take on Franciscan University. The game will begin at 2:00 PM.