Pitt volleyball earns NCAA tournament selection, will face LIU in first round

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Thomas Yang | Senior Staff Photographer

The Division I Women’s Volleyball Committee rewarded Pitt (16-4, 14-4 ACC) for its strong conclusion to the regular season, selecting the Panthers to their fifth straight NCAA tournament appearance. Pitt will meet Northeast Conference champion Long Island University (8-5, 8-4 NEC) in its first-round matchup on Wednesday, April 14, at 10:30 p.m.

By Alex Lehmbeck, Sports Editor

Fresh off of a 3-0 win against North Carolina, Pitt volleyball head coach Dan Fisher certainly didn’t boast a false sense of security about his team’s postseason fate. He said the team still needed to win its last two matches to have “no doubt” it would receive one of the 18 at-large NCAA volleyball tournament bids.

The team did just that this weekend, convincingly dispatching Clemson and Virginia Tech without dropping a set. Going into the NCAA tournament bracket reveal on Sunday, the Panthers rode a 12-match win streak and a perfect spring record.

The Division I Women’s Volleyball Committee rewarded Pitt (16-4, 14-4 ACC) for its strong conclusion to the regular season, selecting the Panthers to their fifth straight NCAA tournament appearance. Pitt will meet Northeast Conference champion Long Island University (8-5, 8-4 NEC) in its first-round matchup on Wednesday, April 14, at 10:30 p.m.

Pitt has faced LIU three times in program history until this point, boasting an undefeated record against the Sharks. The two schools have never met in the NCAA tournament.

The tournament typically features 64 teams, but the NCAA reduced that number to 48 this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The entire tournament will occur in Omaha, Nebraska, making it the first time since 2017 that Pitt hasn’t hosted its first-round matchup.

The selection show didn’t finish without a little drama for Panther fans. The Panthers didn’t receive one of the 16 national seeds — meaning Pitt won’t receive a first-round bye — and didn’t hear their name called until late in the bracket reveal. TJ Meagher, chair of the selection committee, revealed on the ESPNU broadcast that the group sought the opinions of college coaches during the consideration process for at-large bids this year.

“Fortunately with the presence of volleyball on TV through the spring, we could do a lot of visual evaluation, which I think was key in forming opinions on how teams were playing,” he said. “Honestly, the experts and the coaches, we looked at them very closely and asked them to really do their best with helping us in this process.”

If Pitt advances out of the first round, the team will play No. 14 Utah in the second round at 10:30 p.m. on Thursday. Pitt’s section of the bracket also features No. 3 Minnesota, Atlantic Sun Conference champion Lipscomb and ACC foe Georgia Tech, whom the Panthers swept 3-0 in March.

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