UCSB Swept in Pitt Panther Challenge Opener

Lindsey Ruddins (photo by Eric Isaacs)
Lindsey Ruddins (photo by Eric Isaacs)

PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Behind 10 kills apiece from Stephanie Williams and Layne Van Buskirk, Pittsburgh secured a 3-0 sweep over UC Santa Barbara in the first match of the Pitt Panther Challenge for both teams on Friday afternoon at the Fitzgerald Fieldhouse. Set scores were 25-18, 25-11, 25-13.

Redshirt sophomore outside hitter Lindsey Ruddins led the UCSB (0-10) offense with 14 kills, almost half of the team's 30 for the match. After hitting over .200 in two of the three matches in last weekend's Thunderdome Classic, UCSB managed just a .137 clip against the Panthers (5-4), who hit .374. 

Freshman middle blocker/right side Amanda Serex had a solid on the attack as well for the Gauchos, needing just 11 swings to post six kills. 

Defensively, UCSB was anchored by junior libero Emilia Petrachi, who had a team-high 13 digs.

The first set was the closest of the match, with the two teams staying close early and the Gauchos even taking a lead at 8-7 on a Serex quick hit. But the Panthers roared back with an 8-1 run, including a trio of blocks, to take a comfortable 15-10 lead. The Gauchos would later cut the deficit to four on a Nicole Omwanghe (four kills, one block) kill, but that's as close as they would get. 

The Panthers went on to hit over .350 in each of the final two games while the Gauchos fared no better than their .225 percentage from the first game. 

UCSB is right back in action tomorrow, playing a doubleheader against Cleveland State and Eastern Kentucky at 9 AM and 2 PM PDT, respectively.