Weekend Recap: Wrestling starts season and Daigneault continues to roll


Sarah Cutshall | Staff Photographer

First-years Brendon Fenton and Louis Newell wrestle in the Panthers’ intersquad blue and gold wrestling scrimmage Saturday.

By Jack Clay, Staff Writer

Pitt’s football team notched a big win Saturday, taking down No. 23 Virginia 23-13. While that game dominated headlines, here’s a look at what else happened this weekend in Pitt sports.

Women’s Volleyball

The No. 10-ranked Pitt volleyball team traveled down south to Atlanta to play the unranked Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Friday evening. But there wasn’t much of a match to play as the Panthers handled their opponent in dominant fashion. The first set was a blowout, with Pitt winning 25-12. The next two were closer, but equally futile, as Pitt won both 25-19.

There were three main stars in this match. Layne van Buskirk, a 6-foot-3 junior, led the way, racking up 14 kills and a .824 hitting percentage. Junior Nika Markovic also had a great outing, notching 12 kills and earning the Panthers 13.5 points. Lastly, sophomore Kayla Lund had eight kills and a match-high five service aces. Setters Kylee Levers and Kamalani Akeo also played a key role in the win, dishing out 17 and 22 assists respectively.

With the win, the Panthers improved to 24-1 on the season and 12-1 in the ACC, while Georgia Tech fell to 15-11 on the season, and 4-9 in the ACC.

On Sunday, the Panthers traveled to South Carolina to take on an unranked, struggling Clemson team. The Panthers stepped it up when it mattered most, winning an extremely tight first set 26-24 and another very tight second set 25-22. Pitt let up and dropped the third set 19-25. But, the Panthers came back with a vengeance, easily beating Clemson 25-16 in the fourth and final set.

Some familiar faces played well for the Panthers. Markovic dropped 16 kills and six blocks, while Van Buskirk had 13 kills. Akeo also managed to rack up an impressive 27 assists.

Going into the week, Pitt sits at 25-1 and 13-1 in the ACC — Clemson dropped to 14-13 and 5-9. Next week the Panthers will have a chance to avenge their only loss of the season when Duke comes to Pittsburgh.

Women’s Tennis

The women’s tennis team completed its first day of action on Friday, day one of the Brown Classic Invitational at Providence, Rhode Island. The tournament was the Panthers’ last of the season.

The Panthers recorded five total wins on the first day of the three-day tournament, four from singles and one from doubles. The duo of Claudia Bartoleme and Gabriela Rezende took home the lone doubles win, while Bartoleme, Natsumi Okamoto, Clara Lucas and Camila Moreno all took home singles wins.

On day two, Pitt dominated Boston College, earning seven total wins — five from singles and two from doubles.

The combo of Bartoleme and Rezende stood out yet again as they defeated the Boston College team of Elene Tsokilauri and Dasha Possokhova, 6-2.

On the final day of the Brown Classic, the Panthers grabbed five victories, two doubles wins and three singles wins. Once more Bartoleme and Rezende emerged victorious, with the duo of Okamoto and Varon earning a win as well.

The pair of doubles wins along with singles wins from Bartoleme, Moreno and Mariona Perez Noguera allowed the Panthers to wrap up the tournament and their fall season on a positive note.

Swimming and Diving

The Pitt swimming and diving teams hosted Notre Dame and Virginia Tech in a competitive ACC tri-meet this weekend.

Valerie Daigneault and Samy Helmbacher both stood out for the Panthers this weekend. Daigneault and Helmbacher both went undefeated on the weekend. Helmbacher won the 200 IM race and the 200 breast. Daigneault continued her dominance so far this season, winning the 200 IM and 100 backstroke. This last meet brought Daigneault’s season win total to 11 in the first four meets.

Despite several strong individual performances, both the men and women’s programs were defeated. Both squads are now 1-5 on the season and 0-5 in the ACC.


The wrestling team’s first meet isn’t until this Saturday when the Panthers host CSU Bakersfield at the Fitzgerald Field House. But the team still got some work this weekend when

they hosted their annual Blue vs. Gold intersquad scrimmage Saturday at the Fieldhouse.

Blue took the victory over the Gold team 22-18 in wrestle-offs. The event showcased many veteran faces, along with a number of new ones. Six true freshmen and three redshirt freshmen made their wrestling debut in blue and gold on Saturday.  

Top first-year recruit Luke Kemerer defeated senior Robert Lee with an extra riding time point, while the 2017 ACC champion Taleb Rahmani picked up a major decision over redshirt junior Riley Barth 12-3. A big pin from redshirt junior Kellen Stout was the decision maker.

The match also featured some changes in the weight divisions. Senior LJ Bentley posted a 6-5 win in his 141 pound debut after weighing in at 125 pounds for the last three years.