September 30, 2015
Hokies down Panthers in four-set thriller
Lindsey Owens recorded her eighth double-double and a new season high, 20 kills.
Pitt (12-3) 192522241
Virginia Tech (11-4) 251925263
  • Cassell Coliseum - 1,052

BLACKSBURG - With an exciting come-from-behind win in the fourth set, the Virginia Tech volleyball team defeated Pittsburgh, ending Panthers’ five-match win streak to clinch the 3-1 home victory on Wednesday night.

The Hokies fell behind early to a 1-6 deficit in the fourth set. However, Tech inched back one point at a time to even up the frame at 19-all, following three consecutive Hokie blocks. Despite three lead changes and five tie scores, Tech outlasted Pitt with a 26-24 victory.

In front of the Hokies’ largest home crowd of the season, Tech wrapped up the month with an 11-4 overall record with a 2-1 mark in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The first place Panthers drop to 12-3, 2-1 in conference.

Outside hitter Lindsey Owens controlled the match with her eighth double-double, attacking at a .500 rate with 20 kills and 11 digs. Amanda McKinzie added to the Hokies’ offensive prowess, downing 15 kills in the match. Each middle blocker, Ashley Battle, Kennedy Bryan, and Jaila Tolbert, swatting seven kills apiece. Battle went 7-for-11 with a .636 clip. Tolbert owned the net for the Hokies, leading the team with eight blocks.

The Panthers’ Kadi Kullerkann paved the way for the squad, recording 14 kills and three blocks, hitting a .500 clip, Amanda Orchard downed 12 additional kills for the squad. Mariah Bell was the lone Panther to register a double-double of 10 kills and 14 blocks. Despite Pitt’s efforts, Tech outhit the squad by a narrow .292-.227 margin to secure the win.

The McKinzie-Owens pair started the Hokies off on the right note as Owens slugged the first kill followed by a McKinzie ace. Owens collected seven of her 20 total kills in the first frame. Both the Hokies and Panthers were nearly perfect in the first set with a mere nine errors between the two squads. Hitting at a .469 rate, the Hokies claimed the first stanza, 25-19.

A back-and-forth set two proved challenging for Tech as the Panthers jumped on the board to start. The outside hitter duo downed three kills each. Bryan swatted an ace late in the frame to spark an offensive stride for the Hokies. However, Pitt prevailed to a 25-19 decision in the second set.

Tech returned to the court to dominate, taking the early 6-1 lead in the frame. Owens hit 6-for-9 with McKinzie also adding six kills. Tolbert went 3-for-5 with two blocks, including a solo block early on to force a Panther timeout. Pitt was able to narrow the deficit to two points late in the frame, but the Hokies edged the Panthers for the 25-22 win.

The tables flipped in the fourth set as Tech fell behind early but were able to even it up driving Pitt to call a timeout. Tolbert assisted each of the game-changing blocks while adding two kills. Kennedy Bryan hit a perfect 4-for-4. The Hokies efforts proved victorious, securing the 3-1 decision.

Tech returns to action on Saturday, facing ACC and instate rival, Virginia, at 7 p.m. in Charlottesville, Va.

For updates on Virginia Tech volleyball, follow the Hokies on Twitter and on Instagram @vthokievolleyball Instagram

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