Volleyball Falls to Pitt in Round of 32 of NCAA Tournament
OMAHA – The 14th seeded Utah volleyball team dropped its match in the round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament to the Pittsburgh Panthers 3-0 (16-25, 18-25, 19-25) on Thursday, April 15.
The Utes battled all night, but the Panthers edged out in front just enough in each set to get the sweep.
"It was a really tough match," head coach Beth Launiere said. "I have to give Pitt a ton of credit. They played a great match. I thought they were relentless at coming at us. I thought we played aggressive, but they kept making one more play than us. Slowly in every set they just started to widen the gap. We made some nice adjustments, but we really didn't have an answer for them. Our offense started getting going and that made a big difference in sets two and three, but we just didn't get enough stops. I have to give a lot of credit to them."
Things were tight early in the first, but Pitt edged away with a couple short runs to go up 15-9. The Panthers kept the pressure on pushing their lead to eight and then eventually taking the set 25-16.
Utah tried to get going in the second set. They took the lead after a 3-0 run to go up 14-13. Pitt came right back though quickly scoring six of the next seven points to go up 20-16. The Utes just couldn't recover from that and dropped the second set 25-18 to go down 2-0.
Utah's offense got going in the third hitting .325 in the set and the two teams mostly went point for point until the middle of the set. Pittsburgh ran off three in a row to go up 17-14, but the Utes bounced back getting within one. The Panthers responded with a run of their own though and ran off four straight to go up 22-17. With closing the match out in sight, Pitt shut the door on the Utes to advance to their first ever Sweet 16.
Dani Drews totaled a match high 20 kills in the three sets hitting .341. She also had seven digs and three blocks. She led Utah in kills in every match of the season.
Kenzie Koerber was the other Ute with double-figure kills with 10. She also had nine digs. Saige Ka'aha'aina-Torres had 35 assists on the night.
The Utes finished the season with a 13-5 record.