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Pitt volleyball team moves up to No. 7 in national rankings

The team rose up from No. 9 after beating Rice, Washington State and South Carolina in the Carolina Classic

Matt Hawley

The Pitt volleyball team opened up the 2021 season with three straight victories in the Carolina Classic over the weekend, and on Monday, the Panthers were rewarded for their dominant showing with a two-spot bump in the AVCA Division I coaches poll.

Pitt, which began the season as the No. 9 team in the nation, ascended to the No. 7 spot after topping No. 23 Rice, No. 18 Washington State and host team South Carolina. And in those three games, the Panthers put on progressively better performances, as they beat Rice 3-2, Washington State 3-1 and South Carolina 3-0 at the Carolina Volleyball Center.

The wins over the three teams not only elevated Pitt but factored into Rice’s drop out of the rankings and Washington State’s fall from No. 18 to No. 25. Meanwhile, South Carolina, which also logged wins over Rice and Washington State over the weekend, went from unranked to No. 24 in Monday’s poll.

The Panthers are one of three ACC teams ranked in the AVCA poll. However, they are the only one that made the top 10 of the 25-team ranking. The other two are Louisville, which was ranked No. 12, and Georgia Tech, which came in at No. 16 in the national ranking.

Pitt will have a chance to state its case for a higher ranking this weekend, when the team travels to Knoxville to face Baylor, which moved from No. 10 to No. 9 in the poll on Monday, and Tennessee, which is receiving votes.