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Pitt Volleyball

Pitt Volleyball Places Five Players on the All-ACC Teams

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Pitt volleyball placed five players on the All-ACC Teams on Monday, demonstrating the strength of the program.

Graduates in right side hitter Courtney Buzzerio and middle blocker Serena Gray, as well as redshirt junior outside hitter Valeria Vasquez Gomez made the First-Team All-ACC. Senior middle blocker Chiamaka Nwokolo and sophomore setter Rachel Fairbanks earned a spot on the Second-Team All-ACC.

This is the eighth year in a row that Pitt placed multiple players on the First-Team All-ACC. The five All-ACC selections for Pitt are second most in program history.

Buzzerio spent four years at Iowa before transferring to Pitt. She starred for Iowa, making the First-Team All-Big Ten in the Spring 2021 season and making the Second-Team All-Big Ten in the 2021 season.

She transferred to Pitt this season and is playing the best attacking play of her career. She ranks first amongst Power 5 pin-hitters in hitting percentage with at least 775 attempts. She made a team-high 379 kills on .329 hitting, an impressive mark and one that has led Pitt to many victories this season.

Buzzerio averaged 3.29 kills per set, seventh best in the ACC, and her .329 hitting percentage finished as 10th best in the conference. For her efforts, she received a unanimous spot on the First Team.

Gray is another big part of the Panthers’ attack. She joined the Panthers after spending 2018-20 with the Penn State Nittany Lions and has spent the past two seasons as an important middle blocker. This is also the second First-Team All-ACC honor for Gray, after she made the First Team in 2021.

She finished third in the ACC with a .406 hitting percentage in 2022 and eighth in the conference with an average of 1.10 blocks per set. Her 51 errors are 10th fewest in Division I with a .400 hitting percentage or higher. She is also one of four players in the past two years to hit over .400. Gray is also the only player to make 130 kills on a hitting percentage over .400 in ACC play.

Vasquez Gomez is an all-around player for Pitt and provides great execution on the attack and defensively. She and Buzzerio are the only two Pitt players to play every single set this season. She made the second most kills, the second highest percentage by a pin and also made the third most aces and digs.

One her best games came against No. 13 Georgia Tech last Wednesday, as she made a career-high 22 kills in the five-set classic. She also played a great defensive performance against NC State on Sep. 25, making a career-high 24 digs, the most for a Panther non-defensive specialist since 2017.

Nwokolo works with Gray to serve as one of the best duos of middle-blockers in the nation. She led Pitt with an average of 1.13 blocks per set, which finished as seventh best in the ACC. Nwokolo also had her first 100 kill and 100 block season of her career with the increased playing time in 2022.

Nwokolo made a season-high eight blocks in a five-set victory over then ranked No. 2 Louisville on Oct. 23 She also made a season-high 14 kills on .522 hitting against NC State. 

Fairbanks serves as the setter for Panthers and led the team with 725 assists, almost 500 more than the next player. She plays an all-around game, making kills and also playing strong defense by making clutch blocks and digs. Fairbanks is the first Panther to make over 100 kills, 700 assists, 200 digs and 30 aces in a season in the modern scoring era.

Her best game saw her complete a triple-double over Texas A&M on Aug. 28. She finished with 13 kills, 15 assists and 12 digs to become the first Pitt player to complete a triple-double in the modern scoring era.

Pitt starts NCAA Tournament play this weekend as they take on Colgate in the First Round at 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 2 at the Petersen Events Center.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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