Women’s swimming and diving posts strong ACC Tournament

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Romita Das | Staff Photographer

Senior Alecia Petrikis won floor exercise once again Friday with a 9.850.

By Henry Jackson, Staff Writer

The weekend in Pitt sports was highlighted by a major upset from wrestling and continued steady play from baseball, but both basketball teams continue to struggle. Women’s swim made a splash at the ACC Swimming and Diving Championship in Greensboro, North Carolina, while softball played just down the road in Greenville.

Wrestling

After losing a tight meet last week against No. 9 UNC, No. 10 Pitt wrestling managed to recover and knock off No. 7 Virginia Tech last Saturday in its final meet of the regular season. The upset, which took place on senior night, saw all three Pitt seniors win their individual matches and had the Fitzgerald Field House roaring with excitement.

The tipping point came when redshirt sophomore Nino Bonaccorsi managed to take down Virginia Tech’s top wrestler, Hunter Bolen. The Panthers lost a team point for “control of mat” following the victory, putting the team down 13-11 and left the last two matches to be decisive, 

but redshirt senior Kellan Stout and senior Demetrius Thomas delivered dominant performances to close out the victory. In the end, Pitt won 18-13 in front of a packed house.

With the win, the Panthers finished third in the ACC and sparked some momentum to carry into the conference tournament. They will host the ACC Wrestling Championship at the Petersen Events Center on Saturday, March 7.

Women’s swimming and diving

Pitt women’s swimming and diving continued to show progress by finishing 10th in the conference with 359 points — an improvement on last year’s 334 point total.

Sophomore diver Amy Read spearheaded the team’s diving efforts, becoming the first Pitt woman to advance to the championship final on platform. She scored in all three diving events, boasting a sixth-place finish in the platform final, and added 46 points to the teams total.

The Panthers also swam well, with senior Valerie Daigneault scoring 103 total points, highlighted by a 15th finish in the 200-yard backstroke. Senior Madelyn Shaffer was the top-placing swimmer, finishing 10th in the 200-yard butterfly. Pitt also finished ninth in the 400-yard freestyle relay.

Although Pitt has yet to reach the same level as top-tier ACC swim-programs, this year’s team continued to show progress in head coach John Hargis’ fourth year. With many top swimmers graduating this season, they have holes to fill before growth can continue next year and progress can be sustained.

Gymnastics

Falling within a breath of victory, the Pitt women’s gymnastics team fell short of rival West Virginia by just half a point. The heartbreaking loss, which came during the Panther’s senior night, evened the season series against West Virginia to 1-1.

Although the team was unable to pull off a victory, senior Michaela Burton took the uneven bars competition with a season-high 9.900 and also won the balance beam competition with a 9.850. Senior Alecia Petrikis won floor exercise once again with a 9.850.

The Panthers will be competing at 9 p.m. tonight against No. 19 Southern Utah in Cedar City.

Softball

Pitt softball turned in a rocky weekend at the Pirate Invite in Greenville, North Carolina, losing to Massachusetts 2-1 and beating Towson 4-2 Saturday, then losing 9-1 to East Carolina in just five innings Sunday.

First-year pitcher Becca Miller gave up only two runs in the sixth during a complete-game effort against Massachusetts, but the Panthers were wholly unable to hit through six innings. A late seventh-inning rally saw the team load the bases and score junior Hunter Levesque, but ultimately fail to complete the rally.

Sophomore pitcher Abby Edwards kept Pitt golden inside the circle against Towson, pitching another complete game, while production from senior Kaitlyn Kruger and Levesque allowed the Panthers a win.

Sunday’s game against East Carolina saw Pitt overpowered by four Pirate home runs and once again stymied at the plate. The Panthers fell to 5-7 on the season, facing a series with UNC next weekend in Chapel Hill.

Men’s basketball

The Pitt men’s basketball team continued to struggle Saturday against Virginia, losing a heartbreaker at the Petersen Events Center 59-56. The loss dropped the Panthers to 15-13 (6-11 ACC) and marked the team’s fourth straight loss.

Women’s basketball

The Pitt women’s basketball team sustained another lopsided defeat Sunday against Louisville, losing 79-47 and sinking the team to a 4-23 (1-15 ACC) record.

Baseball

Eastern Michigan was unable to find an answer to Pitt’s strong pitching at Historic Sanford Memorial Stadium in Florida. The Panthers swept the Eagles in their three-game series, winning 3-2 Friday, 10-4 Saturday, and 3-2 Sunday.

The series improved Pitt’s record to 6-1 as the team continues its long stint in Florida and marks the best start the Panthers have had since 2017. The team will return to Sanford to play a doubleheader against Lehigh and Central Connecticut State next Friday.

Maria Doku | Staff Graphic Artist

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