Weekend sports: Panthers’ performances vary from court to field


Thomas J. Yang

Forward Taylor Pryce scored her fourth goal of the season in the team’s loss against NC State this weekend. (Photo by Thomas Yang | Staff Photographer)

While the Pitt women’s cross country and volleyball teams excelled this weekend, other Panther performances were less than ideal.

Both men’s and women’s swim teams opened their seasons with unsatisfactory performances, and the women’s soccer team extended its losing streak.

Women’s Volleyball

The women’s volleyball team (12-4 overall, 5-0 ACC) continued its red-hot play Friday as the team fought its way to a 3-1 win at Florida State (9-4 overall, 3-3 ACC). The victory marked the Panthers’ ninth straight win.

Pitt dominated the Seminoles with 74 kills. Multiple players tallied double-digit kills, including sophomore Nika Markovic, who led the way with 21. On the defensive end, the Panthers out-dug their opponent 77 to 53.

Nika Markovic (17) had 21 kills in the volleyball team’s game against Florida State Friday. (Photo by Thomas Yang | Staff Photographer)

The team rolled through another ACC opponent on Sunday as it took down Miami (9-3 overall, 3-3 ACC) to stay undefeated within the conference and extend their win streak to double digits.

This time, senior Mariah Bell led the offense with 17 kills, while the defense was bolstered by a six-block performance from Markovic and a 15-dig effort from redshirt junior Angela Seman. Junior setter Kamalani Akeo also played a large role, racking up 49 assists as the Panthers duplicated Friday’s 3-1 result.

The Panthers travel to Syracuse (13-6 overall, 5-1 ACC) Friday to put their 10-game win streak on the line.

Women’s Cross Country

The women’s cross country team grabbed top finishes in the 5k at the CMU Invitational Saturday morning at Schenley Park.

Senior Melanie Vlasic dashed her way to a first-place finish with a time of 18:26.2 in her final race at Schenley Park. The Panthers had top-20 performances from three other athletes as well. Senior Amy Kelly finished fifth with a time of 18:47.5, senior Rebecca Peters finished 11th with a time of 19:12 and first-year Mikaela Vlasic finished 17th with a time of 19:34.2. As a result of these combined efforts, Pitt finished second out of 16 teams.

The Panthers will travel to the University of Louisville to participate in the Pre-National Invitational Saturday, Oct. 14.

Swimming & Diving

The men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams traveled to Georgia Tech Friday and lost to the Yellow Jackets in their inaugural meet.

On the women’s end, Georgia Tech bested Pitt by a score of 183.5-116.5 despite stellar individual performances from several swimmers. Sophomore Valerie Daigneault and seniors Amanda Richey and Lina Rathsack all placed first in more than one event. Daigneault also achieved an NCAA B-Cut time with her 1:58.30 performance in the 200 meter backstroke, meaning she was close to the championship qualifying time.

The men’s team fared no better, dropping its match 168-132. Juniors Aaron Sett and Brian Lovasik, as well as first-years Blaise Vera and Artur Polyak, chipped in first place wins for the Panthers. Lovasik’s time of 1:37.09 in the 200 meter freestyle also earned NCAA B-Cut status.

The Panthers next test is Friday, Oct. 20, when they host LSU and Virginia at Trees Pool.

Women’s Soccer

The Pitt women’s soccer team (3-8-3 overall, 0-5-1 ACC) entered Sunday’s game against North Carolina State (9-4-1 overall, 2-3-1 ACC) searching for its first conference win. However, the quest continues, as the Panthers suffered a 3-2 defeat.

The Wolfpack hopped out to a 1-0 lead in the 11th minute after the Panthers failed to clear a scramble in front of the net. Pitt redshirt junior forward Taylor Pryce answered with her fourth goal of the season just before halftime, evening up the score at one apiece.

Pitt quickly found itself facing a two-goal deficit after NC State scored in the 57th and 60th minutes. Redshirt junior Ashley Moreira decreased the Panther deficit with her goal in the 66th minute, but Pitt couldn’t create the chance for another goal and lost 3-2.

Despite the loss, the team’s two-goal performance marked an offensive improvement from the previous three affairs, in which Pitt was held scoreless.

In their next game Friday, the Panthers travel to Louisville to take on the Cardinals and hope to emerge with their first ACC victory.