University of Pittsburgh
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Brigham Young University
Natalie Orr | Posted: 10 Sep 2021 | Updated: 2 Oct 2021
Natalie Orr

No. 12 BYU suffers first loss of the season against No. 4 Pitt


PITTSBURGH, Penn — No. 12 BYU women’s volleyball dropped its first match of the season, falling to No. 4 Pittsburgh on Friday in the Fitzgerald Field House (21-25, 25-21, 20-25, 24-26).

Pitt is the highest-ranked opponent the Cougars have faced this year. The loss puts the Cougars at a 7-1 record this season.

BYU opposite hitter Kenzie Koerber had a double-double in the match with 13 kills and13 digs. She also had four blocking assists. Leading the team in kills, outside hitter Erin Livingston had a season-high 17 kills. Freshman outside hitter Sophia Callahan had a career-high of 10 kills.

BYU had 14 service errors in the match.

This matchup between BYU and Pitt was the first since the teams faced eat other in the Smith Fieldhouse in 1988.

Both teams came out swinging, with BYU barely holding the lead. Getting to a 9-6 lead, Livingston racked up three kills, followed by junior middle blocker Heather Gneiting’s two kills. Errors for Pittsburgh allowed BYU a 3-0 run.

At 15-11, a service error by BYU and two aces by Pitt would change the course of the set. The Cougars never trailed the Panthers up until that point. At 17-16, Pitt took the lead and never gave it up. However, a highlight included Livingston going four-for-four on kills

In the end, BYU gave up six points due to service errors. While on the flip side, Pitt boasted four aces, winning the set 25-21.

The teams took turns racking up kills and being tied on four separate occasions. Tied at 9-9, BYU stepped up, managed three consecutive kills and created the biggest gap so far, with those three points. The Cougars steadily climbed, reaching 24 points. At set point, the Panthers did not go down easily, putting two aces and a kill on the board. The set ended at 25-21 where BYU’s .386 hitting percentage edged Pitt’s .182.

The tough sets continued with the Cougars and Panthers staying within two points of each other. After six ties, Pitt crept ahead at 15-12. Its lead would never diminish. Pitt had 17 kills, over BYU’s 12. Pitt hit its highest hitting percentage of the night, at .318, leading to winning a second set. 

The set started no differently, as both teams remained neck-and-neck. Koerber put down six kills in an effort to move onto a fifth set. The Cougars allowed the Panthers multiple 4-0 runs, but still managed to catch up.

After an 18-18 tie, the kills continued on both ends. Koerber and Kennedy Eschenberg put up a solid block, bringing the score to 24-23 for Pitt. Immediately after, Eschenberg partnered with Livingston to tie the match one final time at 24-24. A final kill and block by Pitt ended the night, with a 26-24 set victory.

The Cougars will compete in their final match at the Panther Challenge tomorrow, facing High Point University in Pittsburgh, Penn. at the Fitzgerald Field House. The match will start at 4 p.m. EDT.


Natalie Orr | Posted: 7 Sep 2021 | Updated: 2 Oct 2021
Natalie Orr

No. 12 BYU hits the road for the Panther Challenge

No. 12 BYU

PROVO, Utah — Hitting the road for the first time this season, No. 12 BYU heads to Pittsburgh, Penn. for the Panther Challenge, taking place Sep. 10 and 11.

In addition to the Cougars, the Pittsburgh Panthers will host Bowling Green State University and High Point University. Below is a breakdown of this weekend’s schedule.

Sept. 10

10 a.m. - HPU vs. PITT

12 p.m. - BYU vs. BGSU

7 p.m. - BYU vs. PITT

Sept. 11

11 a.m. - HPU vs. BGSU

4 p.m. - BYU vs. HPU

7 p.m. - BGSU vs. PITT 

No. 12 Brigham Young University Cougars (6-0, 0-0 West Coast Conference)

  • Finished 2020-21 season as WCC champions and ranked No. 15 in the AVCA
  • The 2021 team features four 2020-21 All-Americans: Taylen Ballard-Nixon, Whitney Bower, Kennedy Eschenberg and transfer Kenzie Koerber
  • Currently on a six-match winning streak to start the season, after winning the dōTERRA Classic and the BYU Invitational
  • BYU has swept five of its six competitors this season
  • Junior middle blocker Heather Gneiting currently leads the NCAA in hitting percentage, boasting a .603 clip
  • The WCC dubbed sophomore libero Madi Allen as Defensive Player of the Week

No. 4 University of Pittsburgh Panthers (5-0, 0-0 Atlantic Coast Conference)

  • In the Atlantic Coast Conference Volleyball Preseason Coaches Poll, the team earned the top spot. 
  • The Panthers started the season ranked as No. 9 in the AVCA
  • On Monday, outside hitter Kayla Lund made history as the team’s first athlete to earn National Player of the Week honors from the AVCA. Additionally, the ACC named her as Co-Player of the Week.
  • In 2020, Pitt reached the Regional Finals in the NCAA Tournament, the team’s longest run in program history

Bowling Green University Falcons (3-3, 0-0 Mid-American Conference)

  • The Falcons return 13 of their 15 letter winners from the 2020-21 season, including first-team All-MAC selections Petra Indrova, Hanna Laube and Katelyn Meyer
  • On Monday, the Mid-American Conference honored Indrova as MAC East Offensive Player of the Week and Laube as MAC East Setter of the Week
  • In the MAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll, BGSU was unanimously selected to win the MAC East 

High Point University Panthers (5-2, 0-0 Big South)

  • Last weekend, HPU swept three of its four opponents at the Black Knights Invitational 
  • Outside hitter Dylan Maberry leads the Big South Conference in total kills, managing 86 in seven matches 
  • On Aug. 30, the Big South Conference awarded outside hitter Sydney Palazzolo Player of the Week after her collegiate debut performance. She averaged 4.71 kills per set. Additionally, libero Jenny Wessling received the Freshman of the Week award, tallying 4.75 digs per set.

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