No. 9 Panthers Down No. 18 Cougars
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The No. 18 ranked Washington State Cougars fell to the No. 9 ranked Panthers of Pittsburgh Saturday afternoon, 3-1 to cap off the Carolina Classic.
Set scores from the match were: 25-18, 20-25, 22-25, and 23-25 in favor of Pittsburgh (2-0, 0-0 ACC).
The Panthers found some early separation in the opening set of this top 25 match-up, as a quick 5-1 scoring run saw the ACC squad lead 6-3. The Cougs fought right back with a 3-0 run of their own, as Kalyah Williams began to heat up with three consecutive kills. WSU stayed hot midway through the set, posting five straight points to not only take the lead, but force Pitt into using their first timeout. During this run the Cougars took advantage of multiple Panther errors, and both Penny Tusa and Williams helped anchor the offensive attack. WSU continued to hold down the momentum late into this first set, as Hannah Pukis, Pia Timmer, and Magda Jehlářová all got involved with the offense to lead Pitt 19-15, and forcing yet another timeout from the opposition. The Cougs never took their foot off the gas pedal down the stretch, posting an 8-3 run to win the set at 25-18. WSU once again took the opening Pitt gave with multiple errors, and both Katy Ryan and Timmer sealed the set with kills of their own.
WSU picked up where they left off in set number one, opening the second game on a 6-3 overall run with some help from both Tusa and Jehlářová. The Panthers roared right back at the Cougs, posting a 4-0 run themselves, leading to a WSU timeout at 7-6. Washington State found themselves right back in the fight, as kills from Pukis and Ryan, along with an ace from Julia Norville saw the Crimson and Gray back on top at 9-8. Pittsburgh began building another run midway through set two, as three straight points put the Panthers ahead at 16-13. The Cougs answered with a pair of kills from Argentina Ung, and Magda to close the gap to just 17-16. Pitt once again was able to generate a small run as back-to-back attack errors from the Cougars saw the Panthers take a 20-16 lead. Both Williams and Timmer helped WSU fight back into this set late with kills, however Pittsburgh finished off the Cougs for the set win at 25-20.
The Cougs once again found a hot start to open a set, leading Pitt 5-2 as Timmer, Williams and Tusa all recorded kills. Penny also totaled an ace during this run to hep fuel the WSU offense. Pittsburgh was not a program to fade away when down, as the Panthers posted four consecutive points to claim the lead at 9-7, which forced WSU to take their first timeout of the set. These two top 25 programs were deadlocked at 11-11 out of the Washington State timeout, with the Cougs posting three consecutive points, led by a Tusa kill. Momentum began to swing in favor of Pitt once again midway through this contest, after yet another scoring run (4-1), the Panthers found themselves leading the Cougs 17-15. WSU was not going quietly either in this match, as a 4-0 run sparked the Cougs to a 20-18 lead, which saw Pitt take a timeout. Tusa would post back-to-back kills during the run to lead that dangerous offensive attack. Pittsburgh found their rhythm late in the set as a 7-1 run capped off the set three victory for the Panthers at 25-22.
Washington State once again started off hot to open a set, posting a 5-2 scoring run as Tusa posted back-to-back services aces to ignite the Cougars. Pittsburgh countered that WSU run with a 6-1 run to hold a slim 11-9 lead. Pitt continued to build off that lead, increasing it to 13-9 with some offensive fire power of their own. The Panthers and the Cougars traded points during most of the middle of the set, setting the stage for a Pitt lead of 17-14. Washington State closed the scoring gap with a 3-0 run as multiple kills from Timmer saw the Cougs right back in the mix of this set. The Panthers continued to maintain their slim lead, but another 3-0 run from the Cougars saw WSU right on the heels of the ninth ranked team in the nation. Tusa and Timmer contributed kills during the late run, however Pittsburgh finished off the win at 25-23 overall.
INTO THE TWITTER-VERSE
Cougs Go Five Sets With Gamecocks
📰| https://t.co/MBtG0Wp8iI#GoCougs | #RiseAgain
— Cougar Volleyball (@WSUCougarVB) August 27, 2021
- Pia Timmer led the offensive attack with 16 overall kills. Timmer added four digs, and one assist to her stats.
- Penny Tusa and Kalyah Williams each found themselves with double-digit kills to finish the match, as Tusa posted 13, and Williams tied her career-high with 12.
- Hannah Pukis tallied 45 total assists in this contest, while Karly Basham led the way defensively with 12 digs.
- The Cougars will be back in action next, Friday, Sept. 3 as WSU will head out to Las Vegas to compete in the Rebel Challenge. Washington State will face No. 8 Purdue first in the tournament, and then conclude with host UNLV that Saturday.