The PITT Volleyball team just ended their 2017 season as Co-ACC Champions and with a 2nd straight NCAA Tournament berth, but unfortunately also for the 2nd straight year they fell to Penn State in the 2nd round. But, all signs are pointing to them being on even footing with Penn State sooner rather than later, if not defeating them more often than not. But, let’s not get that far ahead of ourselves yet, it’s just fun to think about happening.
And with the recent success of the team, let’s take a look back at how this team has grown into a team that should be reckoned with in the conference and I would say even nationally.
Looking back at the Big East Conference days, despite a few successful years early this century for the Volleyball team, the Olympic sports took a far back seat to football and basketball. And they struggled because they weren’t getting the funds to be successful. As the Big East started to fall apart because schools began to realize that the conference was not what it once was, the right move for the entire PITT Athletic Department was to move to the ACC and we are beginning to see the benefits across the board.
When Dan Fisher was hired in 2013, he said his goal was to build a program and they are doing just that. He went out and brought in the recruits that this team just wasn’t getting before him and his recruiting classes just continue to get better each and every year. With a majority of this year’s team returning next season and another solid recruiting class coming in, look for the train to keep rolling in the right direction.
Looking at the returning team next season, PITT has key players Kamalani Akeo, Angela Seman, Stephanie Williams, Nika Markovic, Kayla Lund, Layne Van Buskirk and Chinaza Ndee. As well as key role players, Hanna Markewycz and Emily Horner. Now, mix in a few of the incoming freshman and next year’s PITT Volleyball team should be one of the favorites, if not the favorite, to win the ACC Championship.
Also, PITT should start the season in the preseason Volleyball Top 25 based on the past few seasons and the group of players who are returning alone.
The 2013 season was also PITT’s first in the ACC where they finished 19-14 overall (11-9 in Conference), in 2014 they finished 25-6 (13-5 in Conference), in 2015 they finished 23-9 (13-7 in Conference), in 2016 they finished 25-9 (15-5 in Conference) and this season they finished 26-7 (18-2 in Conference).
They have improved over the past few years...
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