Sept. 24, 2013
PITTSBURGH -- Pitt volleyball will play its first matches in the Atlantic Coast Conference this weekend at Fitzgerald Field House when it entertains Clemson at 4 p.m. on Friday and Georgia Tech at 2 p.m. on Sunday. Admission to the Pitt-Clemson bout will be free, and the historic weekend will be capped off with the Panthers' first appearance of the season on ESPN3 when it hosts Georgia Tech.
HISTORY VS. CLEMSON & GEORGIA TECH:
Pitt will be looking for its first wins in program history over both Clemson and Georgia Tech. The Panthers have squared off with this weekend's opponents just once before, falling 3-1 to the Tigers in 1997 and 3-1 to the Yellow Jackets in 2007.
The non-conference season came to a close last weekend with Pitt going 1-2 with its ninth consecutive win over Rutgers at its home tournament. Delaney Clesen and Mechael Guess were both named to the Pitt Panther Invitational All-Tournament Team at the event's end.
ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM HONOREES:
Delaney Clesen earned her third selection to an All-Tournament Team this season when she finished with 65 digs (4.64/set) and 14 assists (1.00/set) at the Pitt Panther Invitational last weekend. Among the junior libero's highlights were a career-best 27 digs against Morehead State and another personal record of nine assists opposite Rutgers.
Mechael Guess joined Delaney Clesen on the Pitt Panther Invitational All-Tournament Team with 30 kills (2.73/set) and a .343 attack percentage. Guess set a season high against Cornell with 16 kills and surpassed her previous personal best in blocks with five against Morehead State in the weekend's finale. It was the junior's first career all-tournament selection.
Pitt is 6-0 this fall in matches when it outblocks its opponent. The Panthers are just 2-5 when they record fewer total team blocks than their foe.
REACHING 20 KILLS:
Kate Yeazel became the first Panther to reach the 20-kill mark on Sept. 20 against Cornell. The 20 kills was a career high for the junior. The last Pitt player with at least 20 kills in a single match was Alexa Campbell, who registered 21 at Rutgers on Sept. 23, 2012.
Only one of Pitt's last six matches has been determined in straight sets and four of those last six have gone the distance to five sets. The longer the match the more varied the results as well. Pitt is 4-1 in three-set matches this fall and 4-4 in contests that go at least four sets.
OUT-HITTING THEIR OPPONENTS:
Despite hitting .192 as a team at the Pitt Panther Invitational last weekend, Pitt continues to register an attack percentage nearly 100 points higher than its opponents this season. The Panthers are hitting at a .235 clip for the year compared to .142 for foes.
REACHING 20 DIGS:
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 four in this season alone, including two last weekend.
With the start of the ACC season upon us, the Panthers find themselves ranked among some of the best in the conference stats. Pitt remained in first in service aces (1.65/set) with Maria Genitsaridi (0.41/set) and Jenna Jacobson (0.33/set) ranking third and eighth, respectively, in individual aces. Defensively, Pitt has held opponents to a .142 attack percentage, which is fourth in the ACC, and Delaney Clesen is seventh in digs (4.31/set).
SCOUTING THE TIGERS:
Clemson will help Pitt ring in its inaugural ACC season at 4 p.m. on Friday. The Tigers are 6-5 on the year having gone 1-2 in their last weekend of non-conference action. Hosting its second home tournament of the fall, Clemson lost to Alabama (3-2) and Delaware (3-1) while defeating Troy (3-1).
The Tigers' Moneshia Simmons enters the week leading the ACC in kills per set with a 4.38 average.
Clemson went 12-10 overall and 12-8 to tie for fourth in the ACC a year ago. The Tigers lost four starters from that squad, including four-time all-conference player Sandra Adeleye.
Ahead of the 2013 season, Clemson was picked eighth in the ACC Preseason Poll.
SCOUTING THE YELLOW JACKETS:
Georgia Tech comes into the weekend even at 6-6 on the fall. The Yellow Jackets went 2-1 at Tennessee's tournament last weekend, defeating the Volunteers and Jacksonville State in straight sets. They also took a 3-1 loss to Coastal Carolina.
Earlier in the season, Georgia Tech took on Idaho State and Connecticut, two teams that were also on Pitt's schedule. Like the Panthers, the Yellow Jackets lost in three sets to Idaho State. However, Georgia Tech lost 3-0 to UConn whereas Pitt was a five-set winner over the Huskies.
Georgia Tech went 19-12 overall and 10-10 in the ACC last season. It was then picked ninth in the conference's preseason poll.
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