Miami Falls to No. 4 Pitt

Miami Falls to No. 4 Pitt

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Despite a career night from Janice Leao, the University of Miami volleyball team came up short in four sets to No. 4-ranked Pitt on Friday night inside the Knight Sports Complex.

The Canes (14-3, 5-2 ACC) took the opening set, 25-21, before the Panthers (16-1, 6-1 ACC) evened the match at a set apiece with a 25-22 set two win. Pitt went on to take sets three, 25-16, and set four, 25-18.

“Pitt has been the standard in our conference for awhile, it’s the level everyone is trying to get to,” said head coach Jose “Keno” Gandara. “We aren’t quite there yet, but I think there’s lots to be encouraged by. Janice again proved she can play with anyone.

“We are looking forward to Sunday. Virginia will be a good test of our resilience, which has been stellar all season.”

Leao posted an astounding .519 attacking percentage behind 15 kills on 27 attacks and just one error. She added five blocks on the evening.

Savannah Vach led the match with 33 assists, along with four blocks, three digs, two kills, and an ace.

It was tightly contested between the two teams who split the opening 22 points evenly. Miami used a three-point run to pull in front, 13-11. Pitt answered to knot the game at 14 all with a 3-0 run of their own. A 4-0 UM run, including two Peyman Yardimci aces, led to a Panther timeout and a 20-16 Hurricane lead. Angela Grieve and Aristea Tontai teamed up on the outside pin to lock in the 25-21 set one win for Miami.

Once again, the teams opened the set trading points in the second. Back-to-back kills from Janet Kalaniuvalu and Leao tied the set at 10-10. Pitt gained a 16-12 lead behind a 6-2 run. Miami fought hard, remaining within two points of the Panthers for much of the set, and even tying the set late, 22-22. Pitt closed the set on a 3-0 run for the 25-22 victory.

Pitt opened the third set on a 4-1 run and never looked back as it took a 2-1 match lead with the 25-16 win.

The Canes came out ready to battle in set four as they headed to an early 8-8 tie. The teams traded 3-0 runs to remain square at 13-13. Pitt went up, 15-13, to head into the media timeout and eventually on to the 25-18 set win.

Miami returns to the Knight Sports Complex on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. against Virginia.