After its Blue-Gold scrimmage, Pitt’s volleyball team played its first real opponent of the 2018-19 season on Saturday. The Panthers took on the Ohio Bobcats and swept them for a 3-0 victory in an exhibition matchup.
Despite the sweep, the Panthers were tested a little. They narrowly won the first set, 25-22. They actually had to come from behind to win and had another close one in the third, taking that one by a score of 25-23. Pitt easily took the second set, winning 25-14.
Keep in mind, though, Pitt is experimenting since its early in the year.
“I’m really pleased with the team’s performance,” said head coach Dan Fisher. “We were able to throw a totally different lineup out during each set and came away with wins in all three against a team that I think is going to be very good this year.
The Panthers return all of their starters from last year so I don’t know that the starting lineup will change much, if at all. But Pitt also has several freshmen that should factor in for playing time so there is likely to be some tinkering early on.
Pitt starts its regular season this Friday with the Panther Challenge, facing Butler, No. 24 Cal Poly, and Pepperdine over the weekend. While Cal Poly is ranked, neither Butler nor Pepperdine received any votes in the preseason AVCA Coaches Top 25 poll where Pitt was slotted 20th.
Keep an eye on that match against Cal Poly. Currently, the ACC has no other ranked teams besides Pitt and that means that matches against top opponents could be scarce. It’s important for the Panthers to have good showings against ranked teams in the few times they will face them. The ACC could eventually get more teams into the rankings but, for now, anyway, the conference looks like it will have another season with most teams on the outside looking in.