Oct. 8, 2013
PITTSBURGH -- Pitt volleyball has a tough task ahead of it as it tries to bounce back from a difficult five-set loss last Saturday. The Panthers travel to Miami for a 7 p.m. bout on Friday, then to No. 21 Florida State on Sunday to square off with the Seminoles at 2 p.m. on ROOT Sports and ESPN3.
HISTORY VS. MIAMI & FLORIDA STATE:
Pitt has faced Miami just three times in program history and leads in the series 2-1. The Panthers are 1-1 when playing at Coral Gables, and that win came in the teams' last meeting, 3-1 in 2003. Pitt also has a winning record against Florida State at 3-2. The squads have alternated wins and losses since the series began in 1983. The last victory went to the Panthers in five sets in 2005, a match that was also played in Tallahassee.
EARNING SOME RECOGNITION:
Pitt got some national attention last week with its straight-sets win over Virginia Tech. Thanks to the effort at Fitzgerald Field House, the Panthers were named one of the Capital One Cup Impact Performances of the Week on ESPN. Catch Pitt in the featured video at http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=9779916.
Pitt set a season high with 17.0 total team blocks in their five-set match with Virginia on Saturday. Monica Wignot (10 blocks), Mechael Guess (6), Jenna Potts (6), Casey Durham (4) and Kate Yeazel (4) led the team individually against the Cavaliers. One night earlier, the Panthers totaled 10 blocks against Virginia Tech, its highest three-set total since posting 11.5 against Northeastern on Sept. 7.
WIGNOT AT THE NET:
Monica Wignot's 10 blocks against Virginia made her the second Panther to reach double digits this season (Jenna Potts totaled 10 at UConn). Wignot's total was also the second of her career in double figures and was one shy of her career best. The senior tallied 11 blocks at DePaul on Oct. 28, 2012.
GUESS STEPPING UP:
Mechael Guess was named the Pitt Athlete of the Week on Monday. The junior finished with a career-high 21 kills and six blocks against Virginia to help her to the honor. Guess has hit double-figure kills in 11 of her last 13 matches. She entered the season with just nine double-digit kills totals in her first two seasons combined at Pitt.
Mechael Guess (21 kills, 6 blocks), Casey Durham (4 blocks) and Jessica Wynn (2 assists) each set career highs against Virginia. Jenna Jacobson (26 assists) and Monica Wignot (10 blocks) also registered personal season bests against the Cavaliers.
ZITZKE AT THE SERVICE LINE:
Lindsey Zitke has posted 10 service aces (0.71/set) during ACC play, including a season-best four against both Georgia Tech and Virginia. No other Panther has more than four aces in all of conference action. Zitzke currently leads the team in aces for the entire season at 25 (0.38/set).
Pitt is 7-1 in three-set matches this season. The lone loss came on Aug. 31 against Idaho State. The Panthers are 6-0 in three-setters since then.
Each of Pitt's last four losses have come in five sets - vs. then-No. 22 Purdue, Cornell, Morehead State and Virginia. The Panthers are 2-4 in five sets and 9-2 in all other matches.
The fifth-set scores in each of Pitt's losses have been almost identical. The Panthers lost 15-11 in the fifth to Purdue, Cornell and Virginia and 15-13 to Morehead State.
Jessica Wynn led Pitt with 16 kills in the win over Virginia Tech last Friday. Ten more kills the following night against Virginia and the junior had reached 207 for the season. It is the second time in her career with 200+ kills. Kate Yeazel is looking to surpass the 200 plateau for the first time in her career and enters the weekend with 199. Her previous single-season high was 161 last year as a sophomore.
LOTS OF BLOCKS:
Pitt is 8-1 this fall in matches when it outblocks its opponent. The only loss came just last Saturday against Virginia when the Panthers lost in five sets despite winning 17.0 to 12.0 in the blocks department. Pitt is just 2-5 when it records fewer total team blocks than its foe.
Pitt has served more aces than is opponent in 12 of 17 matches this season. The Panthers' single-match high is 13 aces at USF. The Bulls totaled just three aces in that five-set match.
HOT CONFERENCE START:
After defeating Clemson, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech, Pitt started its conference season 3-0 for the first time since 2008 when it opened Big East play with a trio of five-set wins over Villanova, Seton Hall and South Florida.
ODDS & ENDS:
Jessica Wynn has already set single-season highs in aces (8), assists (23), digs (149), and blocks (32) this fall ... Pitt defeated Clemson and Georgia Tech for the first time in program history in late September ... Pitt's 8-5 mark to start the season gave the Panthers their third consecutive year with a winning non-conference record ... Jessica Wynn became the first Panther other than Delaney Clesen to lead the team in digs when she totaled 23 (and tied Clesen's total) vs. Rutgers on Sept. 20 ... with its 3-0 win over Arkansas State on Aug. 30, Pitt won its third consecutive season opener.