Weekend Sports Recap: Volleyball salvages sour results

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Weekend Sports Recap: Volleyball salvages sour results

First-year guard Amber Brown pushes through Georgetown’s defense.

First-year guard Amber Brown pushes through Georgetown’s defense.

Carolyn Pallof | Staff Photographer

First-year guard Amber Brown pushes through Georgetown’s defense.

Carolyn Pallof | Staff Photographer

Carolyn Pallof | Staff Photographer

First-year guard Amber Brown pushes through Georgetown’s defense.

By Dalton Miller, Staff Writer

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Pitt Athletics found itself on the wrong end of a disappointing weekend. While both cross country teams failed to qualify for the NCAA Championship meet, women’s basketball and wrestling compounded those losses with stinging defeats. The second-ranked volleyball team provided the lone bright spot of the weekend, picking up an ACC title and a spot in the NCAA Tournament with a win over Duke.

Volleyball

Following a four-set win over Clemson last Sunday, No. 2 Pitt volleyball traveled to Durham, North Carolina, to take on Duke on Saturday. The Panthers pummeled the Blue Devils, sweeping them in three sets and beating them in every stat except blocks, which were tied at five apiece.

The top performers of the match were junior right side hitter Chinaza Ndee, who recorded a match-high 12 blocks, and redshirt senior libero Hali Hillegas, who led the match with 15 digs.

With this win, Pitt continued its best start to ACC play in program history, extending its record to 15-0 in conference play and its road winning streak to 14 matches. This monumental victory clinched Pitt’s third-straight ACC title and second-straight outright conference title. Along with an ACC title, it also claimed an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, for which it will need to wait until the selection on Dec. 1 to find out its seed.

But now the Panthers look ahead and will try to set new records next Friday when they host Florida State in the Petersen Events Center.

Wrestling

No. 15 Pitt hosted No. 3 Ohio State on Friday, but ran into a buzz saw. It suffered a tough 23-12 loss to the perennial powerhouse Buckeyes.

The Panthers started out slow, dropping the first three matches and falling behind 10-0. They managed to claw back and grab a win in the fourth match before dropping the next two. They then grabbed two wins in the final three matches, but it was not enough to complete the comeback.

Redshirt junior Jake Wentzel, redshirt sophomore No. 4 Micky Phillippi, redshirt senior No. 13 Taleb Rahmani and redshirt sophomore No. 9 Nino Bonaccorsi each grabbed wins in their matches, with all four wins coming by decision.

The Panthers will look to bounce back with a win next Sunday when they travel to Bethlehem to take on Lehigh.

Women’s Basketball

After overcoming a 17-point deficit at the half in their last game against Central Connecticut State, the Panthers sought their second win in a row on Saturday, when they hosted Georgetown at the Petersen Events Center. Pitt entered the fourth quarter with a one-point lead, but fell apart in the final frame and lost by the score of 66-56.

Senior guard Aysia Bugg led the Panthers in scoring 17 points while shooting 4-8 from behind the arc. They also got valuable performances on the glass from two first-year players, guard Amber Brown, who pulled down 10 boards, and forward Rita Igbokwe, who snagged 11.

With this loss Pitt falls to 1-2 on the season. It will attempt to turn it around on Tuesday when it hosts Fairleigh Dickinson.

Cross Country

Coming off of disappointing finishes in the ACC Championships two weeks ago, both the men’s and women’s cross country teams traveled to Bethlehem on Friday to compete in the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional.

The women’s team finished 15th out of the 31 women’s teams at the event. They were led by senior Sam Shields, who finished 55th overall with a time of 21:29.8, and sophomore Devon Hoernlein, who finished 72nd with a time of 21:46.9.

The men’s team managed a seventh-place finish out of the 25 teams competing. Despite the poor overall results, the Panthers still boast a few impressive performances with a 15th place finish from senior Nick Wolk, who ran the 10k race in a time of 30:37.9, and from junior Zach Lefever, who ran a 30:47.3, which was good for 23rd.

This meet marked the end of the season for both teams as neither team nor any individual runner was selected for the NCAA Championship meet.

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