Last weekend, the Pitt women’s volleyball team secured a share of the ACC volleyball title. Yesterday, the Panthers earned the title outright with a 3-0 win against Duke. This is the Panthers’ third consecutive ACC title.
As with most of their matches this season, Pitt (26-1) had little trouble against the Blue Devils (12-16), sweeping their opponent in a 3-0 victory. The win also automatically qualifies the Panthers for the NCAA Tournament.
Duke never really challenged Pitt in this one. The Panthers took all three sets comfortably with Duke not recording more than 17 points in any of them. Pitt won the first, 25-16, before going on to 25-14 and 25-17 wins in the second and third sets, respectively. That allowed the Panthers to play some reserves.
I don’t want to sidetrack this story too much but, in thinking about next year’s team, I can’t help but wonder what Pitt’s plans are at libero. The team graduated Angela Seman last year and then brought in transfer Hali Hillegas this season. Hillegas, in my estimation, has done a fine job and really rebounded from some early shaky performances. But she also graduates this year and Pitt is back to looking for its next libero.
I thought about the position because, among those that got into the game were Avery Perosa and Ashley Browske, some defensive specialists. Both will return next year but have been used little this season. Perosa will be a senior while Browske will be a sophomore. Players also change positions, of course, and Pitt could try to make a move with one of the other current players. Then, of course, the Panthers could also try to land a starter from their 2020 recruiting class. That could be a stretch but you can’t rule it out. The Panthers had a Top 20 class last year and, after all, their starting setter is Lexis Akeo, a true freshman that could be on her way to winning ACC Rookie of the Year. Finally, they could also go the transfer route again.
Back to this year, though. Pitt has only three matches left before the NCAA Tournament. Next up is Florida State at home on Friday before a road match against NC State on Sunday. They’ll close the season on Wednesday, November 27 at home against Louisville.
After that, we’ve got the NCAA Tournament selection show on December 1 where the Panthers will learn their seed in the event.