Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
No. 24 Volleyball Sweeps Pittsburgh
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: September 15, 2006
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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            EVANSTON, Ill. ?- The No. 24-ranked Arizona volleyball team (8-2) scuffled early, but came together late to sweep Pittsburgh (9-3) in its opening match of the Wildcat Classic hosted by Northwestern in Evanston, Ill., on Friday. Game scores of the match were 31-29, 31-29, 30-13.


            “It wasn’t great as far as execution for either team” Arizona head coach David Rubio said. “But we made the plays at the right time. I was very pleased with our play at the net, our defense and the way we served today. Pittsburgh is a very tough team, they’re fighters and I knew this wasn’t going to be an easy match.”


            The hard-fought contest saw 26 tie scores over the three games and 15 lead changes. Arizona hit .250 as a team, connecting for 45 kills on 108 attempts with 18 errors. Pitt mustered just a .080 attack percentage and finished with 42 kills against 32 errors.


            Trailing 29-27 in game one, UA bounced back with a four-point run to take the game and an early 1-0 lead. A pair of attack errors by Pitt’s Stephanie Ross and Megan Dooley, a kill by Whitney Dosty and a combined block by Jacy Norton and Amy Dyck paved the way for the late rally and the come-from-behind win.


The Wildcats had jumped out to a pair of early leads in the opening frame at 6-2 and 13-9, but the Panthers rallied back each time and eventually grabbed the lead 16-15 at the midpoint. The two schools traded points for the rest of the game, with neither side able to mount more than a two-point swing.


Game two saw the Panthers in possession of a commanding 23-17 lead late in the frame, but Rubio’s substitution of Emily Harper paid off as the junior DS served five straight points to help the Wildcats go on a 7-to-1 run to even the match at 24-24. The game see-sawed back and forth throughout the remainder of the frame before Pitt once again held game-point at 29-28. However, the resilient Cats pulled through late again, scoring the final three points to head into the break up 2-0.


“Emily (Harper) was the difference in the second game,” Rubio said. “She really served well, and the five-point swing she was able to deliver really was what changed it all for us.”


Game three was all Arizona, as the Wildcats committed just one attack error on 28 attempts to hit a match-best 500, while limiting Pitt to a ?- .031 attack percentage.


Individually, sophomore Brooke Buringrud led all players with a match-best 17 kills on .378 hitting. Junior teammate Dominique Lamb added 11 kills on a match-high .476 hitting and Norton chipped in with six total blocks in the win for the Wildcats.


The Wildcats will return to action later this afternoon with a match against Eastern Illinois. The time of the match has been pushed back 30 minutes and will begin at 3 p.m. Tucson time.