Pitt's volleyball team seems to be hitting its stride at just the right time.
The Panthers are 19-7 on the season, improving to that mark with two more wins this weekend, defeating Clemson (three sets to none) on Friday and Georgia Tech, 3-1, on Sunday. Currently, the team is sixth in the conference standings behind only North Carolina, Florida State, Georgia Tech (who they've now swept for the year), Duke, and Notre Dame.
As a brief aside, senior Jenna Potts became the school's all-time career leader in blocks, breaking a 20-year record. Having watched the team pretty closely the past couple of seasons, she's developed into an incredible player.
Those two wins now give the Panthers five straight victories, highlighted by the win over a top ten North Carolina team.
The Panthers don't have much more in the way of opportunity for statement wins left on the schedule. None of the team's six remaining matches are against ranked programs and the best opponent left appears to be 17-6 Duke. That would be a key win for the Panthers, though, since the Blue Devils are currently ahead of them in the standings.
The good news is that Pitt does have more in terms of statement wins than in the past under head coach Dan Fisher when they've fallen short of the NCAAs. Last year, the team's sole ranked win was against No. 15 Florida State. This year, the team has defeated three of them - No. 25 Colorado State, No. 22 Michigan, and the No. 8 Tar Heels. While Colorado State is no longer ranked, the wins against North Carolina and Michigan still hold up as teams still in the Top 20.
What the Panthers need to do is keep winning and see where things end up. Obviously, North Carolina and Michigan continuing to win will help as well. I don't know how much more they can improve their ranking from here on out but if they can run the table the rest of the way, that would give them a case to make the NCAA Tournament.
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