I haven't been able to keep tabs on the Pitt women's volleyball team like I am later in the season. With football going on, that's mostly the focus, for one thing. Also, a lot of the early matches aren't televised so it's hard to see them. But I did get a chance to watch all three matches from this weekend and, even before that, had noted that Pitt is getting some big contributions from a pair of freshmen.
This year, Pitt signed outside hitter Kayla Lund and right side hitter/opposite hitter Chinaza Ndee. The class was relative small as the Panthers brought back almost everyone from last year's NCAA Tournament team. But coach Dan Fisher said it was arguably the best he's had in his time at Pitt.
The class wasn't ranked among the best in the nation, likely due to its small size. But both Lund and Ndee were Top 100 players, and Lund made a Top 50 list. Both players weren't only highly-touted but also are playing right away. They've each been regularly in the lineup and have made several starts.
Ndee and Lund have 69 and 60 kills respectively, ranking them as some of the bigger hitters on the team and they are fourth and fifth, respectively in that category. Lund is a particularly heavy hitter and probably one of the more powerful ones on the roster. Fisher called her one of the best hitting recruits in the entire nation and that makes sense if you watch her play. Lund is also one of the better servers on the team, adding to her value.
Defensively, both are solid. But Ndee is strong at the net and her 27 blocks are third on the team.
They both have a ways to go to become great players. Both have a fair amount of hitting (attack) errors and, as a result, either is hitting for a particularly high attack percentage. But to have two true freshmen starting from Day 1 in the lineup for a team that made the NCAA Tournament last year (and a team that Fisher says is probably his best in terms of talent) proves they belong.