Sept. 20, 2012
SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. – The University of Pittsburgh volleyball team (9-5) jumps into Big East Conference action this weekend with road contests at Seton Hall (11-1) on Saturday, Sept. 22 and at Rutgers (14-1) on Sunday, Sept. 23. Both matches begin at 2 p.m.
After a successful non-conference portion of its schedule which saw Pittsburgh capture two tournament titles, the Panthers look to pick up victories against SHU and Rutgers who sit atop of the conference standings heading into the opening weekend of league play.
A CLOSER LOOK AT THE PANTHERS:
Libero Margy Acton is having a standout season anchoring the back row for the Panthers. Earlier in the year, Acton became the 10th player in program history to reach the 1,000 dig plateau and she is currently third in the Big East averaging 5.26 digs per set. The Elmhurst, Ohio native has led Pitt in digs every match she has played in this season.
Setter Lindsey Zitzke also finds herself amongst the Big East leaders in a couple of statistical categories. The sophomore is fifth in conference averaging 10 assists per set, and ranks fourth in service aces per set (0.44).
Freshman Jessica Boddy has turned up her play over the past couple of weeks. Boddy has reached double-digit kills in three of Pitt’s last six matches and is averaging 2.47 kills per set during that stretch, while collecting 47 of her 71 total spikes in that span.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS:
Despite being picked to finish last in the preseason coaches’ poll, Rutgers is in first place entering the weekend with a 14-1 record. Seton Hall, picked to finish seventh, is in second place currently with a mark of 11-1.
SHU is led by the twin duo of Shelbey and Stacey Manthorpe. Shelbey, the setter, has dished out 368 assists on the season (8.18 per set) and is third on the team in both kills (85) and digs (117). Stacey, an outside hitter, leads the team with 140 kills and has collected the second most digs with 144.
The Scarlet Knights have a quartet of players who carry the offensive load, led by the reigning Big East Rookie of the Week, Sarah Schmid (199 kills). Setter Stephanie Zielinski is the reigning Big East Player of the Week and she is leading the conference with a 11.53 assists per set average.