Pitt Sweeps Pepperdine to Go 3-0 en route to Panther Challenge Title

  0 Wendy Mayer | August 25th, 2018 | ACC, College - Women's Indoor, Division I Mid-Major, News, WCC

Pitt Panther Challenge

  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Aug. 24-25, 2018

No. 17 Pitt closed out a solid opening weekend at home with a 3-0 record and its own Panther Challenge championship trophy, wrapping up the tournament with a sweep of Pepperdine.

Sophomore outside hitter Kayla Lund was tabbed as tournament MVP for the Panthers. Layne Van Buskirk and Nika Markovic represented Pitt on the all-tournament team alongside

Pittsburgh def. Pepperdine 3-0 (25-23, 25-20, 25-13)

Key Stats: Pittsburgh put up 11 blocks (to 4) to limit Pepperdine to a .183 hitting effort en route to victory. For their part, the Panthers hit .364 and outdid the Waves in kills (42-38), aces (3-1) and digs (43-30). Pitt wrapped the weekend with a .500 hitting effort in Set 3.

Stat Leaders: Kyla Lund (12), Nika Markovic (11) and Layne Van Buskirk (11) each hit better than .300 in leading the Panther offense with double-digit kill tallies. Lund rounded out a double-double with 12 digs, while Van Buskirk added five blocks. Sabrina Starks was tops at the net with six stuffs, while Markovic served up a team-high three aces.

Shannon Scully and Rachel Ahrens downed 11 kills apiece to pace Pepperdine. Ahrens hit at a team-high .381 clip and pulled up a team-leading nine digs. Scully also just missed a double-double with nine digs. Hannah Frohling managed eight kills and a team-best three blocks.

How It Happened: Pitt rallied from down 7-4 in Set 1, putting together a 10-4 run, including four Lund putaways, to go ahead 14-11. Pepperdine caught up at 20-all with help from three blocks and two kills each by Scully and Ahrens. Van Buskirk gave the Panthers the first set-point attempt at 24-22 and Lund finished the set point two points.

Pittsburgh led 6-2 early in Set 2 and slowly built an eight-point edge at 17-9 behind five Wave errors and three Lund putdowns. Down 21-11, Pepperdine mounted a comeback, scoring seven of the next eight, four of them on Pitt miscues. With the lead whittled to four at 22-18, Van Buskirk and Markovic came through with kills to cap a 25-20 win.

Van Buskirk, Lund and Markovic combined for seven kills as Pitt went up 10-4 to start Set 3. The Waves chipped away, cutting the margin to three at 14-11. From there, it was nearly all Pittsburgh as the team sewed up the tournament title with an 11-2 run. Three blocks and three kills by Starks, including the final point, ended the night at 25-13.


Pepperdine def. Butler 3-0 (25-20, 25-17, 25-18)

Key Stats: The Waves recorded their first win of the 2018 season with a strong offensive effort against Butler. Pepperdine hit .340, including a .419 clip in Set 3, and held Butler to a .158 effort, while besting the Bulldogs 48-31 in kills and 5-3 in aces. Butler held the upper hand in blocks (10-3).

Stat Leaders: Hannah Frohling posted a match-high 14 kills on a .385 hitting effort, while also serving up two of the team’s five aces. Shannon Scully just missed a double-double, turning in 11 kills and nine digs. Rachel Ahrens also was key on both sides of the ball, notching eight kills, 11 digs, two blocks and an ace, while hitting .438.

Natalie Ravenell was tops among the Bulldogs with 10 kills followed by Brooke Gregory and Bri Lilly‘s eight putdown tallies. Lilly hit at a .500 clip, while Ravenell managed a .308 effort. Melody Davidson struggled offensively, but put up a match-high seven blocks, while Maddie Freiwald added four stuffs to her 24 assists and seven digs.

How It Happened: After seven ties, the last at 9-all, Pepperdine surged ahead 14-11 in Set 1 as Butler made three errors. The Bulldogs were within one at 18-17, before the Waves got two kills each from Scully, Tarah Wylie and Frohling to cap the 25-20 win.

Pepperdine scored six of the first eight points in Set 2 and boosted its lead to eight at 15-7 midway through the stanza. Butler would get no closer than five the rest of the way. A kill by Alli O’Harra ended the set at 25-17.

A 5-0 run by the Waves, including a kill and a block by Frohling, gave Pepperdine a 9-3 lead in Set 3. A putdown and an ace by Lilly had Butler back within four at 13-9, but that just sparked Scully to the first of three kills to make it 17-9. Down 21-13, the Bulldogs rallied with five of the next seven points. O’Harra and Scully followed with match-ending kills.


Cal Poly def. Butler 3-0 (25-16, 25-16, 25-18)

Key Stats: No. 25 Cal Poly bounced back from its Friday night loss to host Pittsburgh with a sweep of Butler. The Mustangs dominated the first two sets, hitting better than .400 while holding the Bulldogs under .200. For the night, Cal Poly outhit Butler .303 to .122 and outdid the Bulldogs in kills (44-30) and aces (4-1). Butler posted eight blocks to seven for Cal Poly.

Stat Leaders: Torrey Van Winden paced the Mustangs with 14 kills on a team-high .440 hitting effort to go with eight digs and two blocks. Madilyn Mercer (8), Jessica McRoskey (6) and Adlee Van Winden (6) followed. Mercer hit .438 and put up a team-leading six blocks. Katherine Brouker pulled up 11 digs, while Adlee Van Winden added eight saves.

Natalie Ravenell led Butler with  nine kills, while Brooke Gregory and Bri Lilly chipped in eight apiece. Gregory hit at a team-best .389 clip, while Ravenell put up four blocks. Emma Milstead led the backcourt with 10 digs.

How It Happened: Gregory and Mercer posted two kills apiece as Butler took a 6-2 lead in Set 1. The lead was not safe, however, as Cal Poly rallied to go in front at 14-12 and eventually pushed its advantage to seven at 21-14 with a 7-0 run. Three kills and a block by Mercer helped the Mustangs to the lead. Cal Poly finished the set on a 3-0 run, capped by an Adlee Van Winden putaway.

After a tie at 8-all, Cal Poly pulled away with a 10-4 run. Three Bulldog errors and two kills apiece by McRoskey and Stivers gave the Mustangs an 18-12 edge. A hitting miscue gave Cal Poly its first set point try at 24-16 and a Meredith Phillips kill closed the door two points later.

The Mustangs raced ahead 6-0 in Set 3, including two aces by Avalon Denecochea. Butler answered with six points of its own, four on blocks by Davidson, to knot the score at 6-all. Neither team gained more than a four point edge over the next 22 points. The Bulldogs were within two at 18-16 after back-to-back Mustang errors, but it was nearly all Cal Poly from there as the team capped the sweep with a 7-2 run. Three Torrey Van Winden kills and two Butler errors set up the final point, which came on a service error at 25-18.

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About Wendy Mayer

Wendy Mayer

Wendy Mayer has worked in athletics media relations for the last 20 years. The Northwest Missouri State alumna is currently senior writer for Volleymob.com after spending the last 15 years with Purdue athletics.

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