MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – For the first time in more than 20 years, the West Virginia University volleyball team defeated BIG EAST rival Pitt in the “Backyard Brawl” this evening at the WVU Coliseum.
The Mountaineers improved to 14-8, 4-3 BIG EAST after defeating the Panthers (9-13, 4-3 BIG EAST) in a 3-2 (25-21, 25-22, 22-25, 17-25, 15-13) match.
“This win feels really good,” coach Jill Kramer said. “The girls are the most excited I have seen them all year long. We had a great group of fans here tonight that really got into the game and they helped us along the way.”
Set one started with five lead changes until senior middle blocker Lauren Evans posted back-to-back kills, followed by a block assist with junior setter Kari Post to aid the Mountaineers to a 5-0 run for the lead. WVU continued to push for a victory with five-team blocks as junior outside hitter Kylie Armbruster ended the set with her fourth kill.
Down 14-12 in set two, WVU capitalized on Pitt service errors, while Evans posted another kill to regain the lead. The Panthers fought to make a comeback, but fell as Evans landed her 10th kill of the match for the win.
With the momentum on their side, the Mountaineers started set three with a 7-1 lead after two team blocks and kills from Armbruster, senior Abby Norman and junior Serinna Russo. However, the Panthers came back to earn the lead, as senior Amy Town rallied her team with five kills to win the set.
Pitt returned with some momentum of its own in the fourth set as Town posted seven of 18 team kills to win the set.
The two teams battled for the lead in the fifth set, until the Mountaineers stepped up to protect their home court. Tied at 12, Russo landed a kill to give WVU the advantage, while Post ended the match with a kill.
Armbruster, Russo and Post all recorded double-doubles in the match as Armbruster finished with 13 kills and 14 digs, Russo finished with 13 kills and 20 digs and Post with 46 assists and 14 digs.
Evans and Norman also finished in double figures with 14 and 12 kills, respectively.
Senior libero Bonnie West led in digs with a season-high 31 on the night.
The Mountaineers will continue action on Tuesday, Oct. 19, with a 7 p.m. match at Duquesne.