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Volleyball Opens Home Slate with Pitt Panther Invitational

Maria Genitsaridi

Maria Genitsaridi

Sept. 18, 2013

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PITTSBURGH —After spending its first 10 matches on the road, Pitt volleyball will finally get a chance to show its stuff in a regular-season bout at Fitzgerald Field House when it hosts the Pitt Panther Invitational Sept. 20-21. The Panthers will welcome Cornell, Rutgers and Morehead State at the tournament with action beginning at 10 a.m. each day.

TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE: (Subject to change)
Friday, Sept. 20

10 a.m. Pitt vs. Cornell GameTracker Live Video
1 p.m. Morehead State vs. Rutgers GameTracker
4 p.m. Cornell vs. Morehead State GameTracker
7 p.m. Pitt vs. Rutgers GameTracker Live Video

Saturday, Sept. 21

10 a.m. Rutgers vs. Cornell GameTracker
1 p.m. Pitt vs. Morehead State GameTracker Live Video

FEELING IT IN FITZGERALD:

Pitt has enjoyed a great amount of success in its home openers over the years. The Panthers are 34-5 in their first game at home and have won each of their last two openers at Fitzgerald Field House.

Pitt has been equally successful in tournaments it has hosted, going 127-33 (.794) and finishing .500 or better at 41 of 46 home events.

TAKING A LOOK BACK:
Pitt went 2-1 at last weekend’s USF Invitational, defeating the host South Florida Bulls in five sets and sweeping Florida Atlantic in three. The lone loss was a heartbreaker against No. 22 Purdue, a battle the Panthers took to five sets. At the end of the weekend, Jessica Wynn and Lindsey Zitzke were named to the All-Tournament Team.

AGAINST THIS WEEK’S OPPONENTS:
Pitt has a 29-6 combined record against this weekend’s opponents. Included in that, however, is a 28-6 mark against Rutgers. That leaves a 1-0 record opposite Morehead State. Friday’s meeting with Cornell will be the first in history between the Panthers and the Big Red.

The last time Pitt and Rutgers squared off, the Panthers came away with a 3-2 victory. After going up two sets, Pitt saw its lead slip away. It ultimately pulled it out 33-31, 25-17, 23-25, 17-25, 15-11 for the first Big East win of the season. Monica Wignot (16 kills) and Jessica Wynn (14) combined for 30 of the team’s 64 kills in the road match.

Morehead State was one of Pitt’s earliest opponents. The first and only meeting between the two teams came in 1979. Pitt won by the now-unusual score of 2-0.

INCREASED BLOCKING:
Entering the 2013 season, Jessica Boddy’s single-match high for blocking stood at five. The sophomore has already registered six blocks on three occasions this fall. With her increased defensive production, Boddy is up to 41 total blocks on the season. She totaled 40 all of last year.

FIVE-SET AFFAIRS:
After last weekend’s USF Invitational that saw the Panthers beat USF and fall to No. 22 Purdue by scores of 3-2, Pitt is 2-1 in five-set matches this fall. The Panthers have not gone to five sets often in recent years. The Panthers were 2-1 in five-set affairs all of last year. This year’s seniors are now 11-7 in five-set matches for their careers.

EFFICIENCY AT ITS FINEST:
In their 3-0 victory over Florida Atlantic on Sept. 14, the Panthers recorded 51 kills, their most in a three-set match this season. Their 88 attempts in that contest was their fewest in a three-set match this season. Pitt closed the night out hitting .455 (51-11-88). The last time it registered an attack percentage at better than .400 was on Nov. 15, 2009 when it hit .430 (49-9-93) against Rutgers.

SERVE IT UP:
When Pitt was looking to come back and close out the win in the five-setter at USF on Sept. 13, it got a huge boost from Maria Genitsaridi’s service game. The freshman recorded six aces against the Bulls with all of them coming in the fourth and fifth sets. That tied the Pitt freshman record for aces in a single match. Those six aces are the most since teammate Lindsey Zitzke served six against Eastern Kentucky on Aug. 26, 2011. The school record for aces in a single match is eight.

NUMBERS BOOST:
Kate Yeazel began her season averaging 1.17 kills/set. The junior has upped her numbers this fall, posting a 3.13 kills per set average in addition to hitting a career-best .319.

WINNING EFFORT:
In its seven wins this season, Pitt is hitting at a .287 clip and keeping opponents down to a .102 attack percentage. In losses, that trend flips to .163 for the Panthers and .301 for their foes.

DIGGING IT:
When Delaney Clesen began this season as the starting libero, she had recorded just two 20-dig matches in her career, one at the end of both her freshman and sophomore campaigns. The junior now has two in this season alone. Additionally, her previous 20-dig outings each came in the final three regular-season matches of the year. This year’s came in the seventh (20 at UConn) and eighth (22 at USF) outings on the schedule.

PANTHERS IN THE ACC RANKINGS:
Just one more weekend remains before the start of Pitt’s inaugural ACC match. The Panthers are already starting to leave their mark in the conference stats, leading the ACC in service aces (1.84/set). Maria Genitsaridi (0.53/set) and Jenna Jacobson (0.37/set) rank second and sixth, respectively, in individual aces. Delaney Clesen finds herself in seventh for digs per set (4.18).