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Pitt Readies for South Florida, Purdue, FAU at USF Invitational

Maria Genitsaridi and Pitt Volleyball will travel to South Florida this weekend.

Maria Genitsaridi and Pitt Volleyball will travel to South Florida this weekend.

Sept. 11, 2013

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PITTSBURGH —For the third consecutive weekend, Pitt volleyball will hit the road for a tournament. The Panthers, which play their first 10 matches of the year away from Pittsburgh, will take on South Florida, No. 22 Purdue and Florida Atlantic at the USF Invitational in Tampa, Fla., Sept. 13-14. Pitt is looking to extend its current three-game winning streak on the southern swing.

RACKING UP THE HONORS:
Delaney Clesen earned her second All-Tournament Team selection at the UConn Classic last weekend, but it was Kate Yeazel that came away from Storrs with the big honor. Yeazel was named the Tournament MVP after toaling 43 kills (3.91/set) and 13 blocks (1.18/set) and hitting .462 in three matches. Jessica Wynn was also an All-Tournament Team honoree at UConn.

DEFEATING THE DOGS:
The Panthers went undefeated at the UConn Classic last weekend, beating the Albany Great Danes and Northeastern Huskies in straight sets and hanging on for a five-set victory against the UConn Huskies. With its 3-0 record in Storrs, Pitt took the UConn Classic title. Northeastern finished 2-1, followed by UConn (1-2) and Albany (0-3).

THE LAST TIME:
Pitt will open the USF Invitational against the host Bulls. The last time those two teams met, South Florida came one step closer to evening the all-time series with a 3-2 win. Jessica Wynn (19) and Kate Yeazel (14) both tied what were then their career highs in kills, and Lindsey Zitzke added 41 assists and 10 digs. USF tallied 21.0 total team blocks compared to 10.0 for Pitt. The Panthers currently lead the all-time series with the Bulls, 5-4.

Pitt faced Purdue at last year’s Mortar Board Premier and fell in straight sets. The Boilermakers, which were ranked ninth in the country at the time, won 25-16, 25-23, 25-6. There were 10 ties and five lead changes in the competitive second set. The Panthers are looking for their first-ever win against Purdue, which has a 10-0 advantage in the series.

The last time Pitt and Florida Atlantic squared off, the Panthers defeated the Owls in three sets and held them to an.025 attack percentage and 19 kills. Monica Wignot led Pitt with 11 kills. Jessica Wynn made her collegiate debut in the match, adding six kills.

SET COUNT:
Pitt defeated Albany and Northeastern in straight sets last weekend, bringing its three-set record to 3-1 on the year. The Panthers’ five-set battle with UConn was the first of the season to go the distance.

RARE FIVE-SETTER:
Pitt has not gone to five sets often in recent years. The Panthers were 2-1 in five-set affairs last fall with the most recent victory coming Oct. 28, 2012 at DePaul. This year’s seniors are 10-6 in five-set matches for their careers.

MVP:
Kate Yeazel was more than deserving of the UConn Classic MVP honor last weekend. The junior totaled 43 kills and 13 total blocks in three matches. The previous weekend at the Mizzou Tiger Classic, Yeazel totaled 41 kills and six blocks over the course of four matches.

BIG BLOCKER, PART I:
Jenna Potts became the first Panther this year to record double-digit blocks when she totaled 10 against UConn last Saturday. Before Potts, the last to do so was Monica Wignot, who tallied 11 blocks against DePaul on Oct. 28, 2012.

BIG BLOCKER, PART II:
Joining Jenna Potts among the blocking leaders against UConn was Kate Yeazel with seven total rejections. Before Sept. 7, the last time two Panthers registered at least seven blocks in the same match was on Nov. 11, 2012 against Villanova. Monica Wignot tallied eight and Jasmine Dittrich had seven against the Wildcats.

TEAM BLOCKS:
Pitt finished with 16.5 total team blocks against UConn on Sept. 7. Earlier in the day, the Panthers registered 11.5 in their straight-sets win over Northeastern.

SERVING IT UP:
With nine service aces at the UConn Classic, Jenna Jacobson raised her season ace total to 13. The sophomore setter, who served 12 aces all of last year, set a career high with five aces against Albany on Sept. 6.

IN THE WINS:
In its five wins this season, Pitt is hitting at a .292 clip and keeping opponents down to .087 attack percentage. The Panthers are also averaging nearly five more kills and 1.17 more aces per set than their foes in those victories.

TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE: (Subject to change)
Friday, Sept. 13
4 p.m. - Purdue vs. Florida Atlantic
7 p.m. - Pitt at USF

Saturday, Sept. 14
11:30 a.m. - Pitt vs. Purdue
2 p.m. - Florida Atlantic at USF
4:30 p.m. - Pitt vs. Florida Atlantic
7 p.m. - Purdue at USF