Natalie Orr | Posted: 10 Sep 2021 | Updated: 2 Oct 2021

No. 12 BYU suffers first loss of the season against No. 4 Pitt

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PITTSBURGH, Penn — No. 12 BYU women’s volleyball dropped its first match of the season, falling to No. 4 Pittsburgh on Friday in the Fitzgerald Field House (21-25, 25-21, 20-25, 24-26).

Pitt is the highest-ranked opponent the Cougars have faced this year. The loss puts the Cougars at a 7-1 record this season.

BYU opposite hitter Kenzie Koerber had a double-double in the match with 13 kills and13 digs. She also had four blocking assists. Leading the team in kills, outside hitter Erin Livingston had a season-high 17 kills. Freshman outside hitter Sophia Callahan had a career-high of 10 kills.

BYU had 14 service errors in the match.

This matchup between BYU and Pitt was the first since the teams faced eat other in the Smith Fieldhouse in 1988.

Both teams came out swinging, with BYU barely holding the lead. Getting to a 9-6 lead, Livingston racked up three kills, followed by junior middle blocker Heather Gneiting’s two kills. Errors for Pittsburgh allowed BYU a 3-0 run.

At 15-11, a service error by BYU and two aces by Pitt would change the course of the set. The Cougars never trailed the Panthers up until that point. At 17-16, Pitt took the lead and never gave it up. However, a highlight included Livingston going four-for-four on kills

In the end, BYU gave up six points due to service errors. While on the flip side, Pitt boasted four aces, winning the set 25-21.

The teams took turns racking up kills and being tied on four separate occasions. Tied at 9-9, BYU stepped up, managed three consecutive kills and created the biggest gap so far, with those three points. The Cougars steadily climbed, reaching 24 points. At set point, the Panthers did not go down easily, putting two aces and a kill on the board. The set ended at 25-21 where BYU’s .386 hitting percentage edged Pitt’s .182.

The tough sets continued with the Cougars and Panthers staying within two points of each other. After six ties, Pitt crept ahead at 15-12. Its lead would never diminish. Pitt had 17 kills, over BYU’s 12. Pitt hit its highest hitting percentage of the night, at .318, leading to winning a second set. 

The set started no differently, as both teams remained neck-and-neck. Koerber put down six kills in an effort to move onto a fifth set. The Cougars allowed the Panthers multiple 4-0 runs, but still managed to catch up.

After an 18-18 tie, the kills continued on both ends. Koerber and Kennedy Eschenberg put up a solid block, bringing the score to 24-23 for Pitt. Immediately after, Eschenberg partnered with Livingston to tie the match one final time at 24-24. A final kill and block by Pitt ended the night, with a 26-24 set victory.

The Cougars will compete in their final match at the Panther Challenge tomorrow, facing High Point University in Pittsburgh, Penn. at the Fitzgerald Field House. The match will start at 4 p.m. EDT.