The Pitt volleyball team has had a tough go of things early on this year. Coming into this weekend, three of the Panthers' first eight opponents were ranked in the Top 25 (and two were in the top ten). Pitt couldn't really contend with the first two, No. 3 Washington and No. 9 Creighton, but did give No. 25 Iowa State a run, losing in five sets. The Panthers also dropped a disappointing match to a solid Western Kentucky team, that is 13-2 on the year.
Pitt hasn't been terrible, mind you, as they had picked up four wins as well, including one against Dayton, who was ranked last year when the Panthers defeated them in the NCAA Tournament. But, as we often talk about, they don't yet have a statement win, either.
To this point, Pitt had played all of their matches on the road. But the Panthers finally got home this weekend and were impressive in their own 'Panther Challenge' event. Pitt first faced UC Santa Barbara on Friday night then took on both Eastern Kentucky and Cleveland State on Saturday. None of those teams were too impressive and Cleveland State is the best of the bunch with a 7-4 record. But the Panthers were as dominant as they should have been and swept all three teams without dropping a set.
Pitt now gets into the meat of their schedule with ACC play beginning next weekend against Syracuse. Overall, the non-conference schedule went' okay for Pitt. They didn't have any big wins, unfortunately, but they also haven't had any crippling losses, either.
Washington and Creighton are both still in the top ten and should be excellent teams. Iowa State is 7-0 and No. 19 in the rankings now as well, so that shouldn't be a bad loss. What the Panthers really need is for Western Kentucky to keep chugging along and winning games. Currently they're getting votes in the poll and are 31st. Pitt really needs them to keep winning and securing votes so that doesn't hurt their chances of getting into the NCAA Tournament.