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No. 10 Pitt volleyball survives scare at Miami for five-set win

Pitt’s football team will face Miami in their regular season finale next weekend. But today, the Panthers’ volleyball team traveled to Miami and passed a tough test, winning in five sets, 3-2.

Things got off to a slow start for the team as they dropped the first set, 25-22. The Panthers then rebounded for 25-17 and 25-22 wins, but also lost the fourth, 26-24. In the shortened fifth set, however, Pitt eeked out a 15-13 win to take the match. The victory also gives Pitt the outright ACC championship as Friday’s win over Florida State only guaranteed them a share of the title.

Like Friday, I don’t think Pitt looked great. I don’t have the box score yet but they seemed to have a lot of hitting errors and, similar to what Florida State did, I thought Miami played great defense. The match, like the Duke loss earlier in the year, is just a great snapshot of what can happen in any given time out. Pitt is 28-1 on the year but all it takes is one off night or one great match by an opponent to lose.

Pitt’s biggest problem to me seemed to be passing. They struggled there and, as a result, didn’t get great sets with the setter out of position or someone else having to scramble to get into position to try to get a set off. Not sure if it was just an off day or what but they had a difficult time in that area. Libero Angela Seman was one of those that had a hard time. She seemed to have suffer an injury at some point and was even checked out on the court with some sort of hand issue. I’m not sure if that had anything to do with it but that could have been a problem. It certainly wasn’t just her, though, as Pitt had trouble getting digs off of Miami’s hitters as well. Not a great performance but enough to win, which is one of the things that makes this team so dangerous.

Seeing Miami take Pitt to the limit was a bit of a surprise, though. While the match was on the road, Pitt had dominated the Hurricanes earlier this year in a 3-0 sweep. But Miami was also playing like a desperate team, needing a run of sorts to have a chance to get into the NCAAs. Still, the ease with which the Panthers handled Miami the first time could have gotten into their heads. Pitt absolutely dominated the Hurricanes in that first matchup, allowing no more than 15 points in any set and even won one set, 25-8. You just didn’t expect this close of a match.

Another match, another victory, though. That’s the important thing. As I’ve said before, Pitt really needs to keep winning to ensure a Top 16 spot in the NCAAs so they can host at least one round of matches. Pitt has one more match this week against Georgia Tech at home on Wednesday and needs to take care of business there before the postseason.

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