Volleyball: “Set” Up For An Exciting 2nd Half

September 8……..The last time that the PITT Volleyball team lost a match.  After a 3-1 victory Sunday afternoon in Miami, Florida, PITT has now won 10 straight matches and are in a tie for 1st place in the conference with N.C State which could set up a huge match on October 22 at the Fitzgerald Field House in Oakland.

But, there is still plenty to do before that, but first let’s take a look back at what this team has done since the last time I wrote about them in September.

As I wrapped up the last article, the team was 2-3 heading into play at the WKU Holiday Inn-University Plaza Invitational.  The team one two of the three matches at the Invitational, 3-0 against St.Louis and the victory that started this win streak was a 3-1 victory against East Tennessee State.  The lone loss at the Invitational was a 3-2 five-set loss to WKU.

The Panthers returned home for the first time all season the next weekend for the Panther Invitational on September 15 and 16, where they swept all 3 matches against UC Santa Barbara, Eastern Kentucky and Cleveland State 3-0.

In the Week 4 “Fish Report” on PITT LiveWire, Coach Dan Fisher said on the undefeated weekend, “We got three wins which we desperately needed to create some momentum. And we got to play a lot of players too. It was good to get the wins but also to get  a lot of people in and get a lot of people playing well offensively.”

After the Panther Invitational, the Panthers began ACC play at home against Syracuse with a 3-1 match victory.  They followed that up with a 3-1 victory over Boston College and two 3-0 sweeps over Virginia and Virginia Tech.

In the Week 6 “Fish Report” on PITT LiveWire, Coach Fisher previewed the matchups of this past weekend against Florida St and Miami.  Fisher said, “They’re both Top 50 RPI teams and they are both teams that if we win we’ll be able to climb the ladder a little bit. We’ve been at home for awhile so this will be a big test for us to go on the road and play some teams that we think are pretty equal to us.”

When talking about the culture of this team on the Week 6 “Fish Report” on Pitt LiveWire, Fisher said, “This is culturally one of the most favorite teams I’ve coached here.  There just hasn’t been a lot of problems. It’s a group that gets along really well.”

Well, the Panthers went on the road this past weekend and got two huge wins in ACC play against Florida State and Miami. Both by the score of 3-1.

As I said at the beginning of the article, the two victories this weekend has this PITT team at 13-4 overall, 7-0 in conference and on a 10 game winning streak.

They are back on the road this weekend against Syracuse on Friday and Boston College on Sunday.  The Syracuse match will be able to be seen on ACC Network Extra and it looks like in order to follow along with the Boston College match you will need to go to the PITT Volleyball twitter page (@PITT_VB).

The team then returns home the following weekend for showdowns with North Carolina on October 20 and N.C State on October 22.

It is setting up to be a very exciting final month and a half of the season in Oakland as PITT has put themselves in great position so far to be the favorites to win the conference.  But, I have a feeling that N.C State, Louisville, Syracuse and North Carolina will have something to say about it before a champions is crowned.

PITT is a very young, yet experienced team if that is possible to say after the success that the bulk of this team had last season.  Heading down the stretch this team will look to the leadership of Kamalani Akeo, Mariah Bell, Angela Semen and Nika Markovic.

And also look for some offensive and defensive help from the young guns of Chinaza Ndee, Layne Van Buskirk, Stephanie Williams and Kayla Lund.

My hope is that PITT students, Alumni and fans realize that they have something special in this team and I look for them to have a lot of success the rest of this season and into the near future.  It’s time that Panther Nation shows up and packs the Fitzgerald Field House for the home matches from “The Volley PITT” to the general admission fans.

I know there are people that look down on the Olympic sports for some reason and I don’t understand why.  This may have been OK in the former Big East because Basketball and Football was really it when it came to sports in that conference.  But, ever since PITT joined the ACC, the Olympic sports became just as important mainly because the competition and television exposure went up for the teams.  And the exposure is only going to grow as the ACC Network comes into vision.

If I had to pick two teams that are leading the PITT athletic department right now, it would be Volleyball and Football (despite the start to