ShareThis Page
Pitt’s volleyball season ends with loss to Michigan in NCAA Tournament |

Pitt’s volleyball season ends with loss to Michigan in NCAA Tournament

United Press International
| Saturday, December 1, 2018 11:18 p.m

Angela Seman knew things weren’t right for Pitt women’s volleyball team. The senior libero felt everything was out of sorts in front of a crowd of 2,407 on Saturday at Petersen Events Center.

All of those situations compounded into issues that halted the Panthers’ season.

What was a historic weekend for the Pitt ended with a thud. The No. 11 Panthers hit .181 and were upended by No. 18 Michigan 3-2 (19-25, 25-22, 25-17, 21-25, 15-9) during the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Pitt committed 29 attack errors and only attempted 27 attacks in the third set.

“It’s hard to say because our entire team, when we get in those situations, we try to go back to good Pitt,” said Pitt senior libero Angela Seman, who finished tied for a team high with 23 digs. “I think we got a little too amped in certain situations. We were digging a little too high. We were being hectic on plays we usually calm down.”

The Panthers (30-2) entered the weekend hoping to parlay hosting the first two rounds of the tournament for the first time into their first appearance in the Sweet 16.

But missing their kill leader — outside hitter Kayla Lund was out with a leg injury — and plagued by communication issues, Pitt never seemed in sync.

Panthers coach Dan Fisher knew Lund being out had an impact, but he couldn’t put his finger on what it was. Pitt did have balance. Nika Markovic (19 kills), Zoi Faki (12), Layne Van Buskirk (10) and Chinaza Ndee (10) all finished in double figures.

“At the end of the match, we were in a lineup we hadn’t been in much all this year,” Fisher said. “In the fourth set, we made a switch to a 6-2. I thought we gained some momentum. Ultimately, we dug too deep of a hole in the fifth set to overcome.”

The Wolverines (22-9) were at their best on the attack when it mattered most. Michigan, which improved to 3-7 against ranked opponents, committed one hitting error in the fifth set.

Two kills from Carly Skjodt and six attack errors by Pitt led to an 8-0 run that put the Wolverines ahead 11-3.

Skjodt led Michigan with 20 kills, and Paige Jones finished with 20.

“The fifth set was a gut-check a little bit,” Michigan coach Mark Rosen said. “We had seven blocks in that set. That was a great testament to how hard our kids played.”

Pitt cut the lead to 13-9 following a kill from Buskirk, but the Panthers would get no closer. Michigan put pressure on Pitt by winning the second and third set.

After the Panthers’ offense unraveled in the third set, Pitt played its best stretch to force a fifth set.

Despite earning a reprieve, and a chance to take the fifth set, the Panthers couldn’t close the deal.

“It’s hard to keep it in perspective, but a 30-win season is pretty special,” Fisher said. “I know right now it stings a lot for this group. We had a wonderful group of seniors and I appreciated coaching this team.”

Josh Rizzo is a freelance writer.

Categories: Pitt
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.