Pitt volleyball announced their 2023 recruiting class on Thursday, which ranks as the highest in program history.
Head coach Dan Fisher said in a press release that this is the Panthers’ “strongest recruiting class ever.” The four signees in this class all rank in the top 70 according to prepvolleyball.com, which gives the Panthers the No. 8 ranked recruiting class in the nation.
Haiti Tautua’a is the No. 1 recruit out of Hawai’i and the No. 66 ranked player according to prepvolleyball.com. She stands 6-feet tall and plays setter/opposite side hitter for Wai’anae High School and Spike and Serve is her club team.
Tautua’a is one of many setters at Pitt that come from Hawai’i. This includes current senior Lexis Akeo and her older sister Kamalani, who played from 2015-18 and now serves as director of volleyball operations for Pitt.
She earned back-to-back All-OIA West first team honors and made a spot on the Honolulu Star-Advertiser Fab 15 in 2021. Tautua’a also won the TransPacific Championships with Spike and Serve and is well-known at the USA Volleyball National Team Development Program (NTDP). She has an older sister, Heipua, that is a junior outside hitter at San Diego State.
Torrey Stafford comes in as the highest ranked player in the Panthers’ 2023 recruiting class, with prepvolleyball.com putting her at No. 12. She is a 6-foot-2 outside hitter that plays for Marymount High School in Los Angeles and for Sunshine LA, her club team.
She earned the honor of Maxpreps Junior Player of the Year in 2021 after leading Marymount to California state championship and a 35-0 record. The team only lost eight sets all season and she earned First Team All CIF (California Interscholastic Federation) honors.
Stafford is also the first Pitt signee to make a spot on as USA National youth team. She played for the 2022 USA U-19 team that won the gold medal at the Pan American Cup last summer, with a 5-0 record.
Also from the Los Angeles region is Olivia Babcock. She stands at 6-foot-4 and plays opposite hitter for Sierra Canyon High School and is on the same club team as Stafford.
She made a spot on the AVCA First-Team High School All-American and more recently helped her high school team to their first ever Division I girls volleyball championship this week. Babcock also earned an invite to the Team USA U-19 Training team with Stafford.
Blaire Bayless rounds out the group of Pitt signees in this class. She serves as a 6-foot-2 outside hitter for Plano West High School in Plano, Texas, north of Dallas, and for Madfrog, her club team.
Bayless led her high school team to a District 6-6A Championship this year. She received district MVP honors, earned a spot on the First-Team All-District in 2021, and Newcomer of the Year honors after her sophomore year.
These four Pitt signees should feature heavily in the future of what is one of the best volleyball programs in the country.