Volleyball Takes No. 10 Pitt to Five on Senior Day
CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The University of Miami volleyball team forced No. 10 Pitt to five sets in a thrilling match on Senior Day, but fell short in just the third home loss of the season, 3-2.
Seniors Haley Templeton and Kolby Bird were honored prior to Sunday’s match in front of friends, family and more than 500 fans at the James L. Knight Sports Complex.
The Canes handed the Panthers just their second first-set loss in ACC play after a dominant offensive performance, hitting a .314 attack percentage and recorded a match-high 17 kills. Miami was led by both Elizaveta Lukianova and Kolby Bird who logged five kills each, while Bird boasted a .500 attack percentage.
Miami’s defense caused Pitt trouble as six Canes registered at least one dig with Miami finishing with 12 in the first. Redshirt senior setter Haley Templeton tallied 15 of her 55 assists in the first as Miami went on to take the 1-0 lead after a 25-22 set win.
The Panthers tied the match at one with a 25-17 set win. The Panthers hit a .385 attack percentage, converting 14 kills off 26 attempts with senior Nika Markovic recording five. Miami finished with 12 kills as Lukianova and Bird added three more each.
The Canes’ impressive .407 attack percentage was outdone by the Panthers as Pitt took the 2-1 lead into the fourth. Miami’s late four-point run was sparked by two blocks from freshman Chloe Brown and junior middle blocker Bridget Wallenberger to tie the match at 20.
Wallenberger and Bird led the Canes on offense, each recording five kills and hitting .429 and .714, respectively. Pitt took the final two points of the set off a service error and an ace to win, 25-22.
The fourth set began with a pair of runs from both sides as Miami got out to an early 5-1 lead courtesy of kills from Wallenberger, Templeton and Brown. Pitt answered by claiming five of the next six points to tie the set at six. The set was tied 12 times and Miami took the last two points off a Pitt attack error and Templeton’s lone ace of the match.
The Canes took the fourth set, 26-24, and forced the eventual 2018 ACC Champions to play five sets for just the second time in 29 matches. Wallenberger finished with a season-high 15 kills and a team high seven blocks on Sunday.
Pitt jumped out to a 8-4 lead but Lukianova recorded three straight kills and the Canes took advantage of Pitt errors to tie the set at 10. Lukianova and Wallenberger each recorded three kills but the Panthers edged the Canes to take the match in a 15-13 set win.
Sunday’s win gave Pitt sole possession of the 2018 ACC Championship. Pitt has now won back-to-back ACC Championships, sharing the trophy with Louisville last season.
Miami will close out the 2018 season next Friday at Duke.
For a complete look at the Hurricanes’ 2018 schedule, click here.
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