Oct. 10, 2014
PITTSBURGH, Pa. – The University of Notre Dame volleyball team couldn’t maintain an early lead in the first set of its match Friday night against Atlantic Coast Conference rival Pitt, as the Panthers rallied from a 20-15 deficit in the opening frame to sweep the Irish (25-23, 25-18, 25-13) at Fitzgerald Fieldhouse in front of 525 fans.
After that close first set, the Panthers controlled action for the rest of the match as they tallied 12 service aces, which – along with some poor Notre Dame passing – helped keep the Irish out of system most of the night.
After 12 ties and six lead changes in set one, the match featured only four tie scores and no lead changes the rest of the match. Notre Dame failed to claim a lead the rest of the match after a slim 23-22 advantage in the opening frame.
On offense for the Panthers, Mechael Guess (10K, .375A%), Amanda Orchard (8K, .727A%) and Kate Yeazel (7K, .350A%) combined for 25 kills and only one error in 55 chances. Meanwhile, the Irish tallied only 27 kills in 96 opportunities.
Setters Jenna Jacobson (4) and Lindsey Zitzke (3) combined for seven service aces, while Maria Genitsaridi (3) and Delaney Clesen (2) recorded the other five.
For Notre Dame, setter Hanna Muzzonigro had her second-consecutive double-double with 24 assists and 10 digs to lead the Irish in both categories, as the Gibsonia, Pennsylvania native played in front of many family and friends.
Senior Jeni Houser (8K, .381A%, 3B, 1SA) led the way for Notre Dame in kills and attack percentage, as she recorded no errors on the night in 21 attempts. Sophomore middle Katie Higgins totaled a match-high five blocks and also went 3-for-3 in attack attempts in the first set before getting only five more chances the rest of the match to finish with three kills and a .375 attack percentage.
With the loss, the Irish fall to 4-12 on the year including 1-4 in ACC contests. Pitt improves to 14-2 and 2-1 in ACC play.
Notre Dame is back in action at 2 p.m. Sunday when it meets former BIG EAST rival Louisville at the KFC Yum! Center. Fans can follow the match through live stats, @NDVolleyball on Twitter or through CardsTV’s paid video stream. Links are available on UND.com.
–Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director