Pitt downs Florida State for second straight sweep at home

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PITTSBURGH— 8 Pitt continued his excellent play in the ACC as he swept across Florida State on Sunday at Fitzgerald Field House.

The Panthers’ win (18-2 overall, 8-0 ACC) is their 10th straight overall and their ninth straight over the Seminoles (12-7 overall, 4-4 ACC) from 2017. The win keeps them going also atop the ACC tied with No. 2 Louisville, who they face at home next Sunday.

Graduated middle tackle Sabrina Starks played a solid game for the Panthers today. Slipping into the right setter position, she had six kills and also three blocks, both tied for third and second best on the Panthers, respectively.

She said while the win feels good, the Panthers made too many mistakes and they need to fix them as they head into the remaining games of the season.

“I would say our performance was average,” Starks said. “I have the impression that we did not put constant pressure on them. I feel like we had a lot of leads and we gave up at the end, but we were done. I think our outsiders were doing as well as they could have been, but they will definitely come back much better for Notre Dame.

Pitt dominated for much of the first set, leading early, 10-5, then building a 21-10 advantage. Florida State cut Pitt’s lead with a 9-2 run, threatening a miraculous comeback. Pitt kept his cool and two kills from graduate right setter Courtney Buzzerio won them the set.

The Panthers again built an early advantage in the second set, 11-5, but again the Seminoles responded with a 9-2 run to take a 14-13 lead. The Panthers responded by scoring seven of the next 11 points, reclaiming the lead 20-18, then ending the set with a 5-0, 25-20 run.

Both teams battled back and forth for control in the second set, with no lead greater than three for its entirety. Pitt fell behind, 14-13, but then used a 7-3 streak to take a 20-17 lead. Florida State cut the lead to a late one, but Pitt managed to finish in the lead, 25-22, giving them the sweep.

Buzzerio played for the Panthers again offensively. She led with 16 eliminations, making it her 12th straight game leading the team and also in double digit eliminations. It’s also his 16th game with double-digit wins for the Panthers. Buzzerio played effectively on offense for the Panthers, finishing second with a .444 hit percentage and .593 victim percentage. She added three service aces and five blocks in the win over the Seminoles, ranking first and second respectively over the Panthers.

Senior middle tackle Chiamaka Nwokolo finished with a 1,000 hit percentage and 1,000 kill percentage while providing six kills, tied for third with Starks.

Graduate center blocker Serena Gray led Pitt with seven total blocks, tied for second in an ACC game for her in 2022.

Sophomore setter Rachel Fairbanks had a team-high 23 assists, and sophomore outside hitter Julianna Dalton finished first with seven digs.

Pitt stays home next weekend, taking on Notre Dame on Friday. October 21, then the big game, No. 2 Louisville on Sunday, October 23.

Starks says they will focus most of their attention on the Cardinals, but won’t neglect the Fighting Irish as the ACC have improved a lot over the past few years.

“Taking it one game at a time,” Starks said. “I feel like the ACC has improved a lot over the years. So seeing every opponent as someone who can beat us, so we have to play well. Just have constant pressure on them.

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