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Pitt volleyball team deserves ranking consideration

Photo used with permission of University of Pittsburgh athletics department -

As I mentioned on Saturday, Pitt's volleyball team pulled off an upset of No. 25 Duke on the road on Friday night. The win took the Panthers to 20-4 on the year.

Despite the gaudy record, though, Pitt hasn't gotten into the Top 25 rankings. They had a sniff a few weeks back, but after losing to unranked Virginia Tech, the few votes they had went out the window. As of this past week, the Panthers didn't have a single vote.

Perhaps it's time that changed.

The Panthers won yet again on Saturday against, albeit, a .500 Wake Forest team, to push their record to 21-4 and 9-3 in the ACC. Currently, Pitt is third in the conference behind only undefeated Florida State and 19-2 North Carolina. Sitting right below them is the ranked Blue Devils team they just beat.

In addition, Pitt fared incredibly well against Florida State and North Carolina, nearly beating them. They held a 2-1 set lead against the Tar Heels and a 2-0 set lead against the Seminoles before suffering devastating losses in five sets. The Panthers took each of the Top 15 teams to the limit and proved they can hang with them. Their third loss is to a 15-10 Colorado team that is currently ranked No. 21 in the country.

Pitt's big problem right now is their loss to 11-13 Virginia Tech. Still, is that really enough to keep a team playing so well overall out of the rankings?

You can look into the current AVCA poll and see a few teams that Pitt stacks up favorably with. For  starters, there's No. 25 Duke. And No. 24 Oklahoma has a win against a Top 5 Texas team, but also didn't play as well against North Carolina as Pitt did. More alarming is that they were shut out in straight sets to the Duke team Pitt just beat on the road. They've got a couple of wins over ranked teams, but I'm not sure there should be such a disparity between them in the Top 25 and Pitt, who didn't even have a single vote last week.

The Duke win should help things, but not having any votes currently, the Panthers may still be on the short end of the stick this week when it comes to getting into the Top 25. And, truthfully, Pitt's RPI of 52 last week isn't going to do them any favors. But the reality is that Pitt has a better record than the ranked team they just beat - that might be reason enough that they should get into the polls.

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