SCRANTON, Pa. – The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford volleyball team earned a split in the opening night of the University of Scranton Volleyball Tournament. The Panthers dropped a tough, 3-2 decision to Oswego State in the opener, but then came back strong, knocking off Anna Maria 3-1 in the nightcap.
"Overall, I thought we played really well. We could very easily be 2-0," said Tom Roof, who picked up his first victory as head coach of the Panthers' volleyball program. "Oswego State is a very good team that won 19 games last year and we stayed right with them."
Oswego State jumped out to a 2-0 lead in a best of five sets match. The Panthers came roaring back, winning the next two sets. However, they couldn't complete the comeback, dropping a 16-14 heartbreaker in the final set to fall 3-2 in the opener.
"I'm really proud of the way the girls fought in the first match. After losing the first two sets it would've been easy for them to just accept defeat," Roof said. "Instead, we fought hard and battled our way back into it."
Pitt-Bradford settled in nicely in the finale, beating Anna Maria 3-1 (25-9, 25-18, 20-25, 25-19).
"I really think this team has some great potential," Roof said. "At one point we had five new faces on the court, with only one returner. It's going to take some time. Once we got into our rotations and played the way our system is supposed to be played, we were very tough."
Kirsten Platz burst on to the scene, racking up 19 kills and eight blocks to lead the Panthers in her first collegiate match. Alexis Dhayer followed with 15 digs and 11 kills, while Alma Turpin added 14 digs, 13 kills and two blocks. Mandy Finch and Kaitlin McCann also played well defensively, racking up 10 kills and seven kills, respectively.
Emily Reitz led the Panthers defensively with 11 digs, while Kristina Rauh finished the night with 60 assists.
"We were terrific offensively tonight. I was really impressed," Roof said. "Our defense definitely needs some work, but I'm excited to see how it all comes together."
Pitt-Bradford returns to action, Saturday morning at 9:30 against the University of Scranton.