Bradford, PA -- The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford women's volleyball team outlasted Pitt-Greensburg to pick up a 3-2 victory on Senior Day.
Prior to the start of the action, the Panthers celebrated 5 players who will be graduating this year. Caitlin Cipriano, Mercedes Fox, Justine Trevino, Sydney Shepherd, and Meagan Welsh were all joined by their families and celebrated by thier teammates and fans for their accomplishments with Pitt-Bradford. Fox, Trevino and Cipriano each played for the Panthers for two years, have been a part of 33 victories and were a part of the 2018 AMCC Championship team. Welsh and Shepherd are both four year letterwinners that have seen 71 victories and 2 conference championships.
Pitt-Bradford started the first set evenly with the Bobcats as the early part of the set saw both teams exchanging points to the tune of a 10-8 score. From there the Panthers took over as they scored 11 of the next 13 points to take a lead that they would not relinquish. The scoring run started with 6 consecutive points on Tabitha Walker serves. It included kills from Riley Anderson and Elizabeth Johnson and 3 blocks. With a 21-10 lead, Pitt-Bradford was able to coast home and saw Emily Cleveland pick up three straight Panther kills to close the set 25-16.
Cleveland would continue her strong offensive play into the second set as she picked up two early points for the Panthers. They built a four point lead after a Katie Treat block, but saw it erased when the Bobcats scored 5 straight to take the lead. Pitt-Bradford hit a game low .070 in the set which was marked by numerous hitting errors which led to the Panthers being unable to string scoring runs together to recapture the lead. Anderson recorded 3 kills in the set and added 5 digs.
The Panthers responded from their loss in set two with a dominant performance in the third. Pitt-Bradford hit .414 and held their opponents to a -.038 percentage to pick up a 25-14 win. After losing the opening point, the Panthers scored 7 straight following an Anderson Kill. The run consisted of two blocks, two aces from Anderson and kills from Katie Treat and Cleveland. With the large lead, they were able to coast to a 2-1 lead. Cleveland recorded 6 kills in the set, while Treat added 4 on 4 swings and Tabitha Walker dished out 9 assists.
Pitt-Greensburg was able to get ahead early in the set, scoring 6 of the first 8 points. The Panthers slowly dug into the deficit, eventually taking the lead at 18-17 on yet another Cleveland kill. They pushed the lead to 4 with a Gabby Barnes service ace and a Sydney Shepherd kill, only to see the Bobats repeat their early set dominance to take the set. They were able to score 8 of the final 10 points to even the match at two and force a deciding 5th set. Despite the set loss, Cleveland recorded 7 kills and Laura Hildebrand collected 7 digs.
In the deciding set, Pitt-Bradford was able to jump ahead early, scoring the first 4 points in the race to 15 to force a Bobcat time out. Using their quick start, the Panthers were able to stay ahead of their opponents for the entirety of the set, with ther lead getting no smaller than 2 points. They put the game away with their 11th block of the match on a double block from Treat and Kaitlyn Sexton.
Cleveland finished the match with a career high 23 kills. she hit .354 for the match and also collected 5 digs, and 1.5 blocks. Riley Anderson hit .459 for the match recording 13 kills on just 24 swings. She also finished with 12 digs and 2 service aces. Tabitha Walker had 27 assists and 10 digs while also chipping in 2 kills and 2 aces. Laura Hildebrand led the team with 14 digs.
The Panthers (13-12, 5-2 AMCC) will look to pick up an important conference win against Franciscan on Sunday. The game, originally scheduled for October 5, will begin at 2:00 PM.