The Pitt volleyball team has high hopes this season and has been touted as one of the top teams in the nation. But on Saturday, the No. 12 Panthers were upset by Dayton, falling 3-2 in five sets.
The sets were close, yes. No set, in fact, was settled by more than four points so this wasn’t a rout. Dayton is also typically a good program and is the supposed favorite in the A-10 this year. But for the Panthers to lose this match is still an eye-opener. The Flyers are not ranked and did not even receive votes in the preseason poll (at least not more than one — only teams with two votes are listed). Pitt dropped the first two sets before rebounding to take the next two and then losing the final one in ‘extra points,’ 19-17.
The match was not televised, so unfortunately, it’s not possible to see exactly what went wrong here. But, well, the Panthers didn’t play well enough to win.
A bit of news from a roster standpoint is that Pitt’s starting setter appears to be true freshman Lexis Akeo, younger sister of last year’s starter, senior Kamalani Akeo. That position was up for grabs after expected starter Kylee Levers suffered a season-ending injury recently. The job looked to be between Akeo and redshirt freshman Maddie Soboleski but Akeo played at least the majority of the game and recorded 42 assists.
We’ll see where things go from here. This is a disappointing loss but certainly not the end of the season. This was also road match against a solid program that has been ranked recently and, as only an exhibition, it won’t officially count for much. Still, it should be a bit of an alarm for the team, which has a lofty preseason ranking.
The Panthers open the season next weekend with the Panther Classic and will face Cleveland State, Cincinnati, and South Carolina.