Pitt volleyball earns No. 3 national seed in NCAA Tournament, will host first two rounds

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Pamela Smith | Visual Editor

Pitt junior outside hitter Leketor Member-Meneh (13) prepares to hit the ball at a game against Georgia Tech at Fitzgerald Field House on Nov. 10.

By Richie Smiechowski, Staff Writer

During Sunday’s NCAA volleyball tournament selection show, the Panthers earned the No. 3 national seed, meaning they are guaranteed to host the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament in Pittsburgh. Pitt’s No. 3 ranking is the highest tournament seeding in program history

The Panthers (26-3, 15-3 ACC) are the second-highest ranked team from the ACC, behind the undefeated No. 1 Louisville. They are also the highest ranked team that received an “at-large” bid — Louisville and No. 2 Texas both received automatic bids from winning their respective conferences.

In the event that the Panthers win their first two games of the tournament, they will also host the regional stage, which includes all games up until the Final Four in Columbus, Ohio.

The Panthers’ first round matchup will be against America East Conference champion UMBC (19-11, 12-0 America East), who received an automatic bid into the tournament along with 31 other conference champions. The two teams will square off Friday at 7 p.m. 

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Pitt will also host Towson and Penn State, who will play their first-round matchup on Dec. 3 along with Pitt and UMBC. The winners of the two games will face each other the next day to determine who moves on to the third round. The second-round game will take place Saturday at 7 p.m.

Other ranked teams in Pitt’s quadrant of the bracket include No. 6 Purdue, No. 11 BYU and No. 14 Creighton. Each of these teams will also host three other programs in the first two rounds of the tournament. The Panthers defeated BYU 3-1 at home early in the season. The Cougars are the only team in the Panthers’ quadrant that they’ve faced this year. 

While the Panthers normally play their home games at Fitzgerald Field House, they will be hosting the first two rounds at the Petersen Events Center — which is where they hosted first- and second-round action in 2018 and 2019.