Coming off of their most successful season in program history, the Pitt volleyball team is poised for another run at a national championship and is considered a top-10 program in the sport heading into the fall.
Dan Fisher’s team is ranked No. 9 in the nation, according to the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Women’s DI Top-25 Preseason Coaches Poll. The Panthers are coming off of a 19-5 spring season, which concluded with an NCAA Regional Final loss to No. 9 Washington in five sets.
𝙍𝘼𝙉𝙆𝙄𝙉𝙂𝙎 𝘼𝙍𝙀 𝙊𝙐𝙏.
Highest @AVCAVolleyball preseason ranking in program history.
— Pitt Volleyball 🏳️🌈🏳️⚧️ (@Pitt_VB) August 16, 2021
The 2020 fall season was bumped to the spring due to effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the change in seasons and long layoff had no negative effect on the Panthers season. Pitt concluded the regular season with a 14-4 conference mark, 8-1 home record, 5-3 on the road, and 6-1 finish at neutral sites. The unseeded Panthers won three games in the NCAA Tournament, handling first-round opponent LIU in three straight sets before upsetting No. 10 Utah 3-0 and No. 3 Minnesota in the next two rounds, taking down the Golden Gophers in a thrilling five-set comeback after trailing 2-1.
Pitt ranks as the highest of four ACC teams in the Top 25, have two Top 25 matches in the first weekend of the season against No. 23 Rice and No. 18 Washington State, apart of with nine Top 25 matches scheduled to be played this season.
Pitt returns a loaded roster that received an even greater boost on April 23 with the return of senior All-Americans Chinaza Ndee and Kayla Lund, using their extra year of eligibility granted by the NCAA due to effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Three days later, grad-transfer Leketor Member-Meneh committed to the team, adding to an already strong group of outside hitters after three seasons at the University of Missouri.
Other key returning players include middle blocker/right-side hitter Chiamaka Nwokolo, middle blocker Sabrina Starks, along with setters Lexis Akeo and Kylee Levers.
Pitt will be tested early as they have two Top 25 matches in the first weekend of the season against No. 23 Rice and No. 18 Washington State.
The 2021 #AVCA 𝐖𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐧'𝐬 𝐃𝐈 𝐓𝐨𝐩-𝟐𝟓 𝐏𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐞𝐚𝐬𝐨𝐧 𝐂𝐨𝐚𝐜𝐡𝐞𝐬 𝐏𝐨𝐥𝐥 is 𝐎𝐔𝐓!
Congrats to @TexasVolleyball on the #1 ranking.
— AVCA (@AVCAVolleyball) August 16, 2021