Erie, Pa. -- The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford women's volleyball team breezed through 2nd seeded Mount Aloysius in their AMCC semifinal match on Saturday. They won the match in straight sets, with the Panthers winning each set by at least 8 points.
The Panthers shot out of the gate in opening set, picking up 6 straight points after losing the first rally. The majority of the scoring in the run was from Emily Cleveland and Elizabeth Johnson. Each put down 2 kills in the rally and they also combined for a block. Riley Anderson capped off the run with a service ace, forcing a Mount Aloysius time out. They tacked on to the lead after getting a quick side out, and were able to maintain the advantage throughout the set. Cleveland recorded 6 kills in the set and was a part of 4 blocks. Pitt-Bradford hit .382 in the set, collecting 15 kills on 34 swings while committing only two hitting errors.
Pitt-Bradford utilized their momentum from the first set, to build another early lead in the second. Katie Treat pushed the Panthers ahead with two early kills, with the second forcing the Mounties into another early time out. With a 5 point lead midway through the set, the Panthers pushed their lead to 9 using 3 blocks and Kills from Sydney Shepherd, Johnson and Anderson. The Mounties had ashort response to another timeout, scoring two straight, but the Panthers put the set away with another 6-1 run. Cleveland added another 5 kills in the set.
To close the match, the Panthers used another efficient hitting attack to complete the 3 set sweep. They hit .323 in the set, recording 12 kills on 31 attacks. The Mounties started the set much better, staying within a point of the Panthers through 10 rallies. However, a Cleveland kill, Gabby Barnes ace and Shepherd kill led to three consecutive hitting errors and an insurmountable 6 point lead. Pitt-Bradford pushed the lead to 8 points, and then used an 8 point Anderson serving rally to put the match away.
Emily Cleveland finished the night hitting .533, recording 17 kills on 30 attacks and comitting 1 error. She also was a part of 5 blocks and chipped in 3 digs. Elizabeth Johnson also had an efficient match, putting down 7 kills on 14 swings and was a part of 7 Panther blocks. Freshman Tabitha Walker put in another strong setting effort, finishing with 24 assists. 3 Panthers finished with double digit digs as Riley Anderson collected 16, Laura Hildebrand recorded 11 and Alayna Seggi finished with 10. Anderson also picked up 5 service aces. As a team, the Panthers hit .318 for the match and combined for 12 blocks.
Head Coach Tom Roof said, "We've been playing really well the last couple of weeks and today it all came together. We've always stressed that our offense clicks at its best when our defense is equally at its best, and that was the case today. Our setters, Tabitha Walker and Gabby Barnes were incredible. They made great decisions and showed great leadership. Our blockers did their job, finishing with 12 blocks. If we can get that kind of presence at the net tomorrow, it will be a difference maker. Offensively, I can't say enough about Emily Cleveland. 17 kill sand a .533 hitting percentage is amazing. She comes to play and loves the big games. We are where we want to be abd where we've worked hard all year to get."
The Panthers improve their record to 18-9 on the season and advance to the AMCC Championship match, looking to pick up their 3rd AMCC title in the 4 seasons. They will take on the top seeded Penn State-Behrend Lions. The game is scheduled to begin at 1:00 PM tomorrow in the Junker Center in Erie, Pa. The Lions took their regular season matchup in straight sets, winning the first two in close fashion before pulling away in the third.