Nov. 21, 2012
PITTSBURGH – The 2012 University of Pittsburgh volleyball team played to a record of 17-14 and made the Big East Tournament for the fifth straight season, while many players set individual milestones along the way.
The Panthers raced out to an 8-2 start, which included a seven match winning streak, their longest since the 2009 campaign. During that stretch, Pitt won two tournaments (Pitt Panthers Invitational – Allstate Sugarbowl Collegiate Classic), and put together a string of winning 14 consecutive sets.
Pitt started 3-4 in Big East action, but then lost three-of-four and found themselves at 4-7 and on the outside of the Big East Tournament looking in with four matches remaining. But with their backs up against the wall, the Panthers won three of their final four league matches to finish at 7-8 in conference play and secured the seven-seed in the tournament. Marquette would defeat Pitt in the first round of the single-elimination tournament.
Throughout the course of the season, libero Margy Acton set many personal milestones. Against Sam Houston State on Aug. 31 at the Tulane Tournament, Acton became the 10th player in program history to surpass the 1,000 dig plateau. In that same tournament, she also set a tournament record with 29 digs against the Green Wave.
Acton continued to put together one of the best seasons for a libero in program history, as she finished with 529 digs on the season, which is the fifth most in a single-season at Pitt. In just three seasons (she played at Lehigh as a freshman) Acton finished with 1,414 career digs – ranking her fifth all-time. She still holds the Big East record for digs in a single match with 45 against Robert Morris in 2010.
Monica Wignot also had a stellar season which resulted in her being named a Second Team All-Big East performer. After being in-and-out of the lineup in the beginning part of the season, Wignot moved from outside hitter to middle blocker and excelled. The junior tallied 139 of her 229 total kills in conference play and 61 of her 80 total blocks. Her 1.07 blocks per set average in conference play ranked her eighth.
Sophomore Jessica Wynn led the team in kills with 267, while senior Alexa Campbell was second with 246. Wynn increased her kills output by 139 from her freshman campaign, while Campbell shattered her previous career-high of kills in a season, which was previously 106 as a sophomore.
Setter Lindsey Zitzke finished with 909 assists and is now just the seventh player in program history to have 2,000 career assists. The sophomore is currently seventh all-time at Pitt with 2,136 career helpers. Pitt switched to a 6-2 formation in the middle of the season, which then freshman setter Jenna Jacobson was called into action. Jacobson played 91 sets this season and finished with 237 assists and 141 digs.
After collecting just 15 kills as a freshman, right-side hitter Kate Yeazel erupted as a sophomore as she had 161 kills this season, and also increased her blocks, finishing with 62 and a 0.64 blocks per set average. Fellow sophomore right-side hitter Mechael Guess increased her kills total by 20 from her freshman campaign, finishing with 155.
The Panthers will lose three seniors to graduation and will return the core of their team next season as they move into the ACC.