Bradford, Pa. -- The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford women's Volleyball team responded to a poor second set to easily pick up an AMCC victory against Franciscan on Sunday.
The Panthers dominated the opening set of the match, starting proceedings with an 11-1 scoring run that saw the Barons use both of their alotted timeouts during the stretch. Emily Cleveland picked up 4 early kills, Riley Anderson picked up an ace and Laura Hildebrand picked up two more within the rally. The barons responded with 6 point run of their own, however Kaitlyn Sexton brought it to an end with two consecutive kills The Panthers were able to withstand the push from the Barons, easily finishing the set with a 25-16 advantage. CLeveland put down 5 kills on 11 swings in the set while Sexton recorded 3 kills on 4 swings and was a part of 2 Panther blocks. Tabitha Walker added 2 aces and 7 assists.
The Panthers struggled through the second set, as they posted a -.031 hitting percentage in the set. They fell behind early thanks to a 12-1 run for Franciscan, and were never able to recover, only cutting the margin to single digits twice. Anderson was able to record 3 kills and 6 digs in the losing set.
After the break between sets 2 and 3, the Panthers came out firing in set 3, recording kills on over half of their swing sin the set, while comitting 0 hitting errors. They used an early 5 point run behind Hildebrand serves to get a lead and put the set away with a 10 point run with Tabitha Walker on the service line. Walker recorded 3 aces, 13 assists and 6 digs in the set to help move the Panthers towards victory. She shared the ball well, as 4 players, Cleveland, Alexandra Segura and Elizabeth Johnson all finished the set with 4 kills.
In the 4th and final set, Pitt-Bradford was able to slowly build a 5 point lead through the first half of the set. Early on, neither team was able to take control as they continually swapped the lead with neither team building more than a 2 point advantage. Two consecutive Segura aces changed put the Panthers up three and consecutive kills from Katie Treat and Johnson moved the lead to 5. The Barons put in a strong comeback attempt and were able to tie the score at 16 a piece, but the Panthers finished the match with a 9-1 run. Cleveland led the Panthers in kills for the set again, with 4, while Walker dished out 10 assists and picked up 3 kills of her own.
Overall, Cleveland led the way on the attack with 14 kills. Riley Anderson finished with double digit kills and digs, picking up 10 and 16. From her Libero position, Laura Hildebrand collected 18 digs and added 3 aces and 4 assists. The star of the game for the Panthers was freshman setter Tabitha Walker. Walker finished with 34 assists, added 3 kills on 3 attacks, recorded 5 service aces and collected 9 digs in the match.
The win moves the Panthers to 14-12 on the season with a 6-2 record in AMCC play. It also clinches a top 4 spot in the post season for the Panthers, meaning they will at least host a post season match. They are currently tied for third inthe AMCC. They will look to solidify their playoff seeding on Wednesday, when they travel to Buffalo, N.Y. to take on Hilbert.