Pitt beats Cincinnati – Pitt Panthers #H2P

PROVO, Utah – No. 10 Pitt (3-1) beat a pesky Cincinnati team (20-25, 25-20, 23-25, 25-19, 15-5) Friday afternoon inside Smith Fieldhouse in Provo, Utah. The Panthers finished the game on a 21-5 run to come back and win their BYU Nike Invitational opener.


  • Julianna Dalton recorded a career-best 17 kills on .368 hits.
  • She becomes the first Panther to record 50 kills this season.
  • She also tied a career high with nine digs, her third performance of nine digs in four games this season.
  • Chiamaka Nwokolo matched her career high with eight blocks, despite only playing in four of five sets.
  • Rachel Fairbanks achieved his third double-double of the season, leading the team in assists (33) and digs (11).
  • Courtney Buzzerio delivered 13 kills, including three in the fifth set, on .333 hits. This is his first 10+ kill, .300+ hit match as a Panther.
  • Serena Gray had his best offensive performance of the young season, making 11 kills on .474 hits.
  • Cam Ennis made the first two aces of his Pitt career in opportune moments, giving Pitt a set point in the second set (24-20) and a 22-19 lead in the fourth.
  • Pitt beat Cincinnati, 54-45. Extend his streak to four consecutive games to start the season.
  • Pitt has now won 39 straight games against unranked opponents, since the start of the 2020 season.
  • The all-time series with Cincinnati is now tied, 10-10. Pitt has won all four neutral-site games in series history.


The Panthers came out flat, making unusual mistakes and failing to pass. Pitt had six unforced hitting errors and two service errors while also being blocked twice. As a result, Cincinnati received eight free runs and won the set by five.


The second set was a back-and-forth battle as Pitt and Cincinnati adjusted on offense and started striking very effectively. For the majority of the set, Pitt was hitting above .400 while Cincinnati was right behind, hitting .300+. Dalton was the offensive catalyst for the Panthers, ending six on eight without an error. The momentum changer in defense was Nwokolo who delivered four blocks throughout the set including the set point tiebreaker. The Panthers finished the set on a 6-1 run, tying the game at one set apiece.


Pitt eased off in the third and a late Bearcat 7-2 run put Pitt in a hole, 21-16. The Panthers fought back, even tying the score, 22-22, but Cincinnati emerged with the victory by two runs. Errors came back into the game in this set as Pitt gave the Bearcats six points on unforced or serve errors. Dalton was the least affected Panther, finishing with five kills. Pitt took on the defense of this set, led by four digs of Ashley Browske.


The Panthers entered the fourth set on a mission, collecting 13 of the first 18 points (13-5). The Bearcats refused to quit, going on their own 13-5 run to tie the set, 18-18. Just when it looked like momentum and the game fell out of Pitt’s reach, the Panthers went on a 6-0 run, taking the set by six points on excellent serve from Ennis, a pair of kills by Dalton and two more kills by Fairbanks and Buzzerio. Dalton, Buzzerio and Fairbanks each finished the set with four kills while Dalton and Buzzerio also led the team in digs, four each.

The fifth set was riddled with stoppages, challenges and timeouts. Regardless of the jerky nature, Pitt proved himself, maintaining his momentum throughout the set, performing diving plays and sending balls to the ground with clinical precision. Valeria Vazquez Gomez responded after four tough opening sets, making three kills from four swings and serving the game’s final five points. Pitt finished fifth on a 6-0 run and ended the match on a 21-5 run going back to the fourth set. Fairbanks was a digging machine in the final set, finishing with five digs, one kill and three assists.

The Panthers get back to work later in the day for Game 2 of a double header against Utah State (RV). The Aggies (2-1) dropped their weekend opener to hosts No. 7 BYU 3-0 last night. The game is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. ET and can be streamed live on BYU-TV.

#H2P | Twitter | instagram | Facebook

Comments are closed.