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Weekend Sports: Pitt volleyball, softball continue dominance while soccer teams stumble

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Weekend Sports: Pitt volleyball, softball continue dominance while soccer teams stumble

Junior Nika Markovic (17) celebrates at Pitt’s 3-1 victory over Florida State Sunday afternoon. (Photo by Kaycee Orwig | Staff Photographer)

Junior Nika Markovic (17) celebrates at Pitt’s 3-1 victory over Florida State Sunday afternoon. (Photo by Kaycee Orwig | Staff Photographer)

Junior Nika Markovic (17) celebrates at Pitt’s 3-1 victory over Florida State Sunday afternoon. (Photo by Kaycee Orwig | Staff Photographer)

Junior Nika Markovic (17) celebrates at Pitt’s 3-1 victory over Florida State Sunday afternoon. (Photo by Kaycee Orwig | Staff Photographer)

By Andrew Kelly, For the Pitt News

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The Panthers were busy both on and off campus this weekend, though results were mixed. Volleyball and softball led the way, picking up two wins each. Pitt’s soccer teams, meanwhile, did not share the same success — the men’s team fell to No. 11 Virginia on Friday, followed by the women losing to Virginia Tech Sunday afternoon.

Volleyball

Women’s volleyball has been the strong point of Pitt athletics so far this fall, and that didn’t change this weekend. The No. 8 Panthers picked up two wins at the Fitzgerald Field House, only conceding one set total.

Facing off against the University of Miami (6-4 overall, 2-1 ACC), which hasn’t seen much success this season, the Panthers dominated on Friday night. Senior Angela Seman produced a very strong performance for Pitt, leading the team with three aces and 12 digs. The Panthers outplayed the Hurricanes in every major statistical category and defeated them in three straight sets, 25-15, 25-8, 25-13 — more than doubling the total points posted by the Hurricanes.

The team achieved the same result Sunday afternoon, but Florida State (7-7 overall, 3-1 ACC) put up a better fight than Miami. The Seminoles stole the first set, but the Panthers took the next three and came out with their second victory of the weekend. Sophomore Kayla Lund and junior Layne Van Buskirk were the stars of the day, leading the Panthers with 14 and 16 kills, respectively.

Pitt now sits at 15-0 on the season, ranked No. 8 in the nation. The Panthers will look to maintain their perfect season next weekend, with conference home games against Syracuse on Friday and Boston College on Sunday.

Men’s Soccer

The Pitt men’s soccer team (4-5 overall, 1-3 ACC) hosted No. 11 Virginia (5-0-2 overall, 2-0-1 ACC) Friday night, looking to pull off another upset after knocking off No. 12 NC State the previous game.

The Panthers saw plenty of opportunities early on, getting good shots off against the Virginia defense. A questionable no-call robbed Pitt of a potential penalty kick in the first few minutes, erasing what could have been a positive momentum shift. With the Panthers hanging tough in the first half, the teams headed to the locker rooms deadlocked at 0-0.

But things quickly got away from the Panthers in the second half, as they allowed two goals in the first 20 minutes. Pitt never recovered, unable to find the back of the net for the remainder of the game. A red card given to sophomore midfielder Marcony Pimentel in the 75th minute certainly did not help the cause, as Pitt tried to come back from a two-goal deficit with a one-man disadvantage.

With this loss, the Panthers fall below .500 once again. Six of the team’s first nine games came against nationally ranked opponents and Pitt looks to bounce back in the second half of the season with an easier schedule. Next up is home game versus Columbia on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Softball

Pitt softball was in for a long day Saturday, squaring off in a double-header with Saint Francis University. Luckily for the Panthers, posting two wins certainly made their long day a lot better. The women got off to an early lead in both games, setting the momentum well in their favor.

In game one, the Panthers had six runs on the board before SFU scored once, and built a comfortable five-run lead before the third inning in game two. With strong pitching performances from junior Brittany Knight in the first game and senior Sarah Dawson in the second, Pitt never let their opponent get any offensive momentum and won by margins of 12-2 and 7-3, respectively.

The Panthers now head toward their final game of the fall season — versus Kent State next Sunday — with a strong 5-1 record. Pitt appears to be settling in well with new head coach Jodi Hermanek, who was hired in the offseason. If Hermanek and her team can keep things rolling until the regular season, they could be poised to make a splash in the ACC come springtime.

Women’s Soccer

It was a tough Sunday for Pitt women’s soccer, with the Panthers fourth straight loss of the season to the Virginia Tech Hokies, 2-0.

Pitt (4-6-1 overall, 0-4 ACC) struggled gain offensive momentum, putting just one shot on goal the entire game. Virginia Tech (7-2-3 overall, 3-1 ACC) scored a goal in each half, with its first goal coming just a few minutes before time expired in the first half. With plenty of momentum coming out of the locker room, the Hokies were able to muster up another goal just 11 minutes into the second half. The Hokies sent eight shots on goal, a very strong number which kept Pitt first-year goalie Katherine Robinson busy all afternoon.

The team’s next contest comes next Thursday with a home game against the University of Miami (4-6-2 overall, 1-3 ACC), a team that’s also struggled this year. The Panthers will look to win their first conference game of the season.

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Weekend Sports: Pitt volleyball, softball continue dominance while soccer teams stumble