Pitt athletics did its best to combat autumn’s shrinking days and growing nights by stacking win upon win over the weekend and lighting the top of the Cathedral. In what may be one of the best weekends in recent Pitt sports history, there were upsets, new milestones and continued dominance, all worthy of Cathy’s weekly light show.
Pitt men’s soccer bounced back from road loss to rival Penn State on Tuesday with a massive upset, defeating No. 1 Virginia 2-0 in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Friday night. Senior midfielder Braden Kline was the star of the game, scoring the first goal in the 21st minute and assisting on the second goal in the 60th minute, scored by Veljko Petkovic.
Friday’s win marks the first ever win over a No. 1-ranked opponent in program history. Not only was it Virginia’s first loss of the season, but Pitt’s second win in a row over the Cavaliers.
Pitt improved to 7-5-2 overall and 3-2-1 in ACC play, giving it the most ACC wins in the regular season in program history. The next game will be against Duke on Friday, Oct. 25, for the final home game of the season.
Pitt women’s soccer also continued to build off of its first ACC win, securing a 2-1 win over North Carolina State on Saturday night at Ambrose Urbanic Field. The Panthers scored two goals in 10 minutes —- the first from sophomore Celia Lopez in the 20th minute and the next by redshirt sophomore midfielder Vildan Kardesler in the 29th minute.
Redshirt junior goalkeeper Amaia Pena stonewalled the Wolfpack for almost all 90 minutes, save for NC State’s lone goal in the 40th minute. She faced 25 shots, including 12 on goal, but still recorded a career-high 11 saves.
With the win, Pitt is 5-7-3 overall — eclipsing its four-win total from last season — and 2-3-2 in the ACC. Its eight points this season are the second most in program history since its move to ACC. It currently sit at ninth place in the ACC, just missing that eighth ACC tournament spot.
The Panthers will go on the road the next two games next weekend, taking on Wake Forest on Thursday night and Clemson next Sunday afternoon.
Pitt cross country competed at the second annual Texas A&M Arturo Barrios Invitational in College Station, Texas, on Saturday, the final meet before the ACC Championships. Out of the 26 teams competing, the men finished in sixth place in the 8k, while the women finished in eighth in the 6k.
For the men, senior Nick Wolk was the top finisher in ninth place with a time of 23:55.6 and junior Zach Lefever followed close behind in 13th place at 24:05.08. Sophomore Evan Addison, whose time of 24:45.9 was good enough for 42nd, also found himself at the top of the Panthers’ results.
On the women’s side, senior captain Sam Shields finished first for the Panthers, 33rd place overall, with a time of 21:27.9. Other top finishers included junior Ally Brunton in 40th place at 21:34.7 and sophomore Devon Hoernlein in 49th place at 21:43.2.
Swimming and Diving
In the first traditional dual meet of the season, Pitt swimming and diving defeated Michigan State in East Lansing, Michigan, on Saturday. Both the men and women won the meet with the men out-scoring the Spartans 172-126 and the women winning with a score of 186-114.
Top performers for the Panthers in the men’s section included junior Eben Vorster, who won the 200-free and 200-fly, sophomore Blaise Vera, who won the 50-free and 100-free, and first-year Cooper Van der Laan, who won the 100-breast and 200-breast. This was Van der Laan’s collegiate debut for Pitt and his times in the breaststroke are already some of the top of the nation.
For the women, seniors Sarah Giamber and Valerie Daigneault both won multiple events, with Giamber winning the 1,000-free and 500-free and Daigneault winning the 200-free and 200-back. There were seven more event winners on the women’s side and three more on the men’s side to cap a strong early season meet.
No. 3 Pitt volleyball continued its dominance of the ACC with two sweep wins at the Fitzgerald Field House against North Carolina on Friday and NC State on Sunday.
The two wins mark a program record 29th and 30th straight wins at the Fitzgerald Field House this season, with the last loss coming in 2017. The sweep wins are also the 13th and 14th of the year and 6th and 7th in ACC play. In 25 sets against ACC play, the Panthers have only dropped one set, coming against then No. 23 Florida State on Oct. 6.
They improved their record to 19-1 overall and 8-0 in the ACC. This is the third consecutive season that Pitt has started 8-0 in the ACC and the last two ended in winning the ACC conference.
Friday night also saw the achievement of an individual milestone against UNC. Senior middle blocker Layne Van Buskirk recorded her 1,000th kill, making her the third active Panther to reach the millennium mark alongside fellow seniors Nina Markovic and Stephanie Williams.
The Panthers will continue ACC play next weekend, taking on Notre Dame on Friday and Louisville on Sunday, both away games.