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Pitt volleyball tops No. 8 North Carolina, North Carolina State over weekend

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Photo used with permission of University of Pittsburgh athletics department - www.pittsburghpanthers.com

In case you somehow haven't seen it yet, the WatchESPN app is now available on Playstation. That makes watching content there much easier and I was able to catch both of the women's volleyball matches this weekend.

I get that most people were probably more wrapped up in football action over the weekend, but Pitt's volleyball team put on quite a show.

First, they knocked off North Carolina State. The Wolfpack are a decent team, but unranked. They had Pitt on the brink of elimination on Friday night with a 2-1 set lead and up 24-18 in the fourth set needing only a single point to win it. But the Panthers fought all the way back and not only won the fourth set, but took the fifth to pull off an improbable win.

While that was important, the Panthers scored a much bigger win on Sunday, knocking off the No. 8 Tar Heels in five sets. It was only North Carolina's third loss all year and their first ACC loss of the year. After giving up the fourth set where they could have put things away (Pitt led two sets to one), the Panthers blew North Carolina out of the water in the final set, winning it 15-6. Nika Markovic was the star of the match with 19 kills, but the Panthers also got some big games from Stephanie Williams and Mariah Bell.

Others were key, too. I thought Angela Seman, a defensive specialist (libero), played a really strong game on the back line as well. Star Jenna Potts has had bigger games statistically, but also drew quite a bit of attention from North Carolina defenders and was important. Finally, Kelsey O'Neill, a middle blocker, had one of her bigger games and really picked it up late in the match with some key points.

The win immediately boosts Pitt's NCAA Tournament resume. The Panthers are 17-7 on the year and the top ten win on Sunday will help. The schedule the rest of the way out includes some weaker teams so they'll need to finish strong and avoid some hiccups to make the NCAAs.

Pitt's RPI, which was No. 42 last week, should get a nice boost come Monday.

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