Wake Forest Falls Just Short in Season-Opening Five-Game Loss to Pittsburgh
Aug. 31, 2007
OXFORD, Ohio - Wake Forest battled back from an early two-game deficit but came up just short in a season-opening, five-game loss to Pittsburgh Friday evening at the Best Western/Sycamore Inn Classic hosted by Miami (Ohio) University. The Panthers defeated the Demon Deacons 31-29, 30-20, 23-30, 27-30, 15-12.
Junior Jessica Furlong picked up where she left off last season with the 26th double-double of her career. Furlong turned in 20 kills and 13 digs to lead the Deacs in both categories.
Classmate Natalie Mullikin and senior Jackie Lucas joined Furlong in double digit kills with 19 and 15 respectively. Mullikin also posted four block solos and five block assists. A 2006 All-ACC performer, Mullikin hit .548 on the night with just two errors in 31 attempts. Lucas had just three errors in 32 attempts for a percentage of .375.
Game one remained tight throughout with neither team gaining more than a five-point advantage. Pittsburgh used a 10-5 run to take a 20-15 lead, but Wake came back with five straight points to tie the game back up.
The Panthers took game point at 29-26, but the Deacs fought back with three consecutive points. However, a kill and a service ace gave Pittsburgh the first game, 31-29. Furlong totaled seven kills in the first stanza.
Pittsburgh used the momentum in game two, as the Panthers never trailed. They built an 18-7 lead and rolled to the 30-20 victory.
The Deacons weren't finished yet, though. Wake Forest jumped out to a 14-6 lead in game three and never let Pittsburgh within less than seven points the rest of the way for the 30-23 win. Lucas recorded six kills and no errors in 10 attempts in game three.
It was not as easy in game four, as the Deacs had to post a comeback win to push the match to a fifth game. The Panthers got out to a 10-4 lead, and it took a 13-7 run before Wake could even the score.
The Deacons took their first lead of the game at 20-19 and never relinquished it the rest of the way, holding off the Panthers for the 30-27 win.
In the deciding game five, Wake Forest had the early advantage with an 8-5 lead. However, Pittsburgh used four straight points to reclaim the lead at 9-8.
With the game tied at 10 apiece, the Panthers once again scored four unanswered points to take match point. Kills from Mullikin and Furlong brought the Deacs to within two, but Melissa Stadelman put the match away with a kill for the Panthers.
Pittsburgh moves to 1-3 overall with the win, while Wake Forest opens the year 0-1.
The Deacons are back in action tomorrow with their final two matches at the Best Western/Sycamore Inn Classic. Wake Forest will take on host Miami at noon and Michigan at 5 p.m. Both times are EDT.