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No. 7 Pitt wins epic match against No. 13 Georgia Tech

PITTSBURGH – No. 7 Pitt (26-3, 16-1 ACC) sent the 3,556 crowd into a frenzy at the Petersen Events Center and returned to defeat No. 13 Georgia Tech (19-7, 12-5 ACC) in five Sets: 25-21, 22-25, 23-25, 25-22, 19-17. The Panthers erased a 10-5 deficit in the fifth set to head coach Dan Fischer his 150thth Career ACC win.

“The biggest crowd of the season meant a lot tonight,” Fisher said. “I’m really happy about how close this match was. I was secretly hoping this would be a five-setter game just knowing how tough the NCAA tournament is and how big some of the environments we’re going to play in can feel. Tonight felt like a great game. In many ways Georgia Tech outdid us, we just had enough grime to pull out a win. They had such a great season. We’ll draw for them to have a deep “run” in the tournament. I’m just really proud of our team spirit and finding a way to win through difficult moments. But the crowd was amazing and made such an impression on our players . You definitely helped us win that fifth set with the energy you brought.”

Pitt still controls his destiny in the fight for an ACC championship. The Panthers must defeat Boston College in their next game on Saturday, November 26 at 1 p.m. at Fitzgerald Field House to earn a share of the 2022 conference title.

FAST STRIKES

  • The 3,556 fans in attendance today is the second-highest viewership in the history of the program.
  • Coach Fisher is the sixth coach in ACC history to have 150 conference wins. At 150-37, he becomes the second fastest to accomplish the feat.
  • Valeria Vazquez Gomez A career high with 22 kills tonight, including five in the fifth set.
  • She made those 22 kills while maintaining a stellar .347 hit rate.
  • Vazquez Gomez also recorded three aces, tying her career high, alongside 14 digs — her sixth career double-double and fourth of the season.
  • Rachel Fairbanks Set a career high with five blocks, including the match-winning block next to it Chiamaka Nwokolo.
  • Fairbanks also recorded a double-double, her 13thth the season. She finished the tournament with the team’s best 39 assists, along with 12 digs, five kills, two aces and five blocks.
  • Nwokolo led the team at net, posting six blocks, nine kills and a .389 batting average.
  • Emmy click led the back row and scored a career-high 17 digs after starting the second set as a libero.
  • Courtney Buzzerio delivered her third 20-kill match of the year. She leads Pitt with 369 kills this season.
  • Buzzerio and Vazquez Gomez are the only Panthers, along with Kayla Lund, to have recorded more than 20 kills at the Petersen Events Center
  • Pitt notched a season-high 71 kills tonight, his first match with more than 70 kills since Baylor last season (9/4/21).
  • The Panthers are improving to 5-1 against top 15 opponents this season — the most top 15 wins in a single season in program history.
  • Pitt improves to 8-3 at Petersen Events Center and 4-0 in ACC matches at the venue.
  • This was the program’s first five-set win at the Petersen Events Center, after all three previous losses came in five sets.

SET 1: PITT 25 – GEORGIA TECH 21

The Panthers fell behind unusually early in the opening set, allowing Georgia Tech to build a 14-9 lead. But a flood of production out Juliana Dalton, three kills and a block propelled Pitt back into things, 16-16. Both sides traded points for an 18-18 score before Buzzerio took matters into his own hands, notching up two kills and two blocks as Pitt won eight of the last 11 points in the set to win by four. Buzzerio led the offense from start to finish, notching eight kills on .636, hitting in one of her best sets as a Panther. Both offenses rolled early as Pitt beat GT on .457 to .367 in the opening frame.

SET 2: PITT 22 – GEORGIA TECH 25

Pitt did well to correct his poor start to the first set, leading by two points for much of the opening points and even extending the lead to 15-12 at one point. But the Yellow Vests fought back, taking a 20-18 lead and clinching a three-point win. Both defenses reinforced as both sides hit just .256 in frame. Both Buzzerio and Georgia Tech’s Julia Bergmann were held under .100, but the Panthers’ three misses proved the difference.

SET 3: PITT 23 – GEORGIA TECH 25

Pitt started well again, winning three of the first four points and holding that lead to a 20-15 lead. But Georgia Tech went on a run and Pitt couldn’t react in time as GT won 10 of the last 13 points to steal third way. Vazquez Gomez started to hold his own in the third, hitting six kills with a .385 while Klika hit six digs with heavy effort.

SET 4: PITT 25 – GEORGIA TECH 22

With their backs to the wall, the Panthers showed their courage, getting off to another good start (7-3), withstanding the GT counterattack (19-19) and fighting their way to the finish, winning six of the last nine points by to force a fifth set. Both defenses retreated as neither team hit more than .200 in the set for the first time in the game. Buzzerio was excellent, making six kills with .462 while Fairbanks led the backline with five digs. Klika and Vazquez Gomez were close behind with four digs each as the Panthers entered a fifth set for the fourth time this season.

SET 5: PITT 19 – GEORGIA TECH 17

The fifth set looked bleak for the Panthers as Georgia Tech took a 10-5 lead. But Pitt stayed in the fight, using a kill from Dalton and three straight kills from Vazquez Gomez to cut the lead to 10-9. Georgia Tech hit back again to lead 12-9 and then again 13-10, but a kill from Vazquez Gomez, two attacking errors from GT and an ace from Fairbanks gave Pitt the first match point of the competition, 14-13. Georgia Tech would parry three match points until consecutive blocks from Fairbanks and Nwokolo sent the bench on court to celebrate a win from behind in front of the second largest crowd in program history.

NEXT

The Panthers continue their quest for an ACC championship on Saturday, November 26 at Fitzgerald Field House against Boston College. Tickets are available at pittsburghpanthers.com

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