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Jessica Wynn and the Panthers open the 2013 campaign this weekend at the Tiger Classic.

Aug 28, 2013

PITTSBURGH-The University of Pittsburgh volleyball team opens a new chapter of its historic program by participating in the Tiger Classic this weekend, Aug. 30-31 at the University of Missouri. The 2013 campaign marks the Panthers' inaugural season in the ACC, and the first year under new head coach Dan Fisher.

Fisher inherits a squad that returns 14 players from last year's roster, including five starters. Senior Monica Wignot, a 2012 Second Team All-Big East performer, leads the way for the Panthers, while 2012 kills leader Jessica Wynn and 2012 assists leader Lindsey Zitzke are back for their junior campaigns. Pitt should also look for instant contributions from two freshmen, Greece International Maria Gentisaridi and redshirt transfer from Xavier, Jenna Potts.

It's not every day that Pitt sees this weekend's opponents. The Panthers have a combined 2-3 record against their four tournament foes. The last time they saw any of the teams was in 1996 when they earned a 3-2 victory over Idaho State. Saturday's meeting with South Dakota will be the first in the series between Pitt and the Coyotes.

With just two seasons in the book, junior Lindsey Zitzke is already among the best in program history in assists and service aces. The setter ranks seventh all-time at Pitt with 2,136 assists. She also needs just three more aces to reach 99 for her career and move her into 10th in the record books.

The Panthers will play four of their six ESPN3 matches inside Fitzgerald Field House, beginning on Sunday, Sept. 29 against Georgia Tech at 2 p.m. The Yellow Jackets mark Pitt's second-ever ACC contest. Five days later the Panthers will host Virginia Tech on an ESPN3 national broadcast. First serve against the Hokies on Oct. 4 is set for 7 p.m. Also slated for ESPN3 broadcasts are home matches with Syracuse (Sunday, Oct. 20 - 2 p.m.) and North Carolina State (Sunday, Nov. 24 - 2 p.m.), and away contests at Florida State (Sunday, Oct. 13 - 1 p.m.) and Notre Dame (Sunday, Nov. 3 - 2 p.m.). The match at Florida State will also be live on ROOT SPORTS.

Pitt welcomes a new coaching staff to the sidelines in 2013 with Dan Fisher at the helm and Craig Dyer and Lindsey Campbell assisting. All three coaches have national titles under their belts. Fisher and Campbell were NAIA national champions at Concordia last fall, while Dyer raised a trophy as an assistant with the Penn State men's volleyball team in 2008. Dan Fisher is the eighth head coach in Pittsburgh program annals. The volleyball program is entering its 40th season in 2013. The Panthers have amassed an all-time record of 931-437-3.

Pitt held its Blue-Gold Intrasquad Scrimmage last Saturday and the Blue team earned the 3-1 win. Amanda Orchard and Maria Genitsaridi both finished double-digit kills, while Jenna Jacobson chipped in an unofficial 40 assists and Jenna Potts finished with nine total blocks for Blue. The Gold squad was led by Jessica Wynn's 16 kills and 15 digs. Lindsey Zitzke tallied 43 assists and 16 digs for Gold as well.

Over the course of the program's 39 years, Pitt has tallied a 104-56 record against teams currently in the ACC. Not surprisingly, the opponent Pitt has met most is Syracuse, which also joined the ACC from the Big East this year. The Panthers are 31-9 all-time against the Orange. Pitt's best winning percentages are against N.C. State (3-0, 1.000) and Boston College (21-1, .955). The only current ACC team the Panthers have never faced is Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons will come to Fitzgerald Field House on Nov. 8.

This weekend marks the first time Pitt has played at the University of Missouri ... Pitt returns 14 players from the 2012 season and welcomes four newcomers ... Two newcomers - Jenna Potts and Ellie Burns - hail from Pennslyvania, but the other two - Lauren Anderson and Maria Genitsaridi - are from farther afield coming from Arizona and Greece, respectively ... the Panthers return a majority of their statistical leaders from 2012, including Jessica Wynn (267 kills), Lindsey Zitzke (909 assists, 43 aces) and Jasmine Dittrich (105 blocks) ... This weekend will mark the first matches of the season for each of the teams at the Tiger Classic.

TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE: (All times Central, subject to change)
Friday, Aug. 30

10 a.m. Idaho State vs. South Dakota
12 p.m. Pitt vs. Arkansas State
2 p.m. Missouri vs. South Dakota
4 p.m. Arkansas State vs. Idaho State
6:30 p.m.  Missouri vs. Pitt

Saturday, Aug. 31

9 a.m. South Dakota vs. Arkansas State
12:30 p.m. Missouri vs. Idaho State
2 p.m. South Dakota vs. Pitt
4 p.m. Missouri vs. Arkansas State
7 p.m.  Idaho State vs. Pitt
Pitt Volleyball Makes Season Debut at Tiger Classic

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