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The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

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First-year guard Aaryn Battle (1) dribbles the ball during Thursday evening’s game against Wake Forest in the Petersen Events Center.
Pitt women’s basketball falls back into their old habits, fall to Wake Forest 65-50
By Sara Meyer, Staff Writer • 9:10 am

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First-year guard Aaryn Battle (1) dribbles the ball during Thursday evening’s game against Wake Forest in the Petersen Events Center.
Pitt women’s basketball falls back into their old habits, fall to Wake Forest 65-50
By Sara Meyer, Staff Writer • 9:10 am

Column | Grading Pitt’s fall sports programs

Junior+setter+Rachel+Fairbanks+%2810%29+sets+up+a+spike+for+a+teammate+during+Saturday+night%E2%80%99s+match+against+USC+in+the+second+round+of+the+2023+NCAA+Tournament+at+the+Petersen+Events+Center.
Ethan Shulman | Visual Editor
Junior setter Rachel Fairbanks (10) sets up a spike for a teammate during Saturday night’s match against USC in the second round of the 2023 NCAA Tournament at the Petersen Events Center.

The 2023 fall semester at Pitt is coming to a close, marking the time for final grades and exams, as well as the conclusion of the fall sports season. 

As Pitt nears the end of the first semester of the 2023-24 school year, it’s time to assess and evaluate the performance of each of the Pitt athletic teams whose seasons took place during this fall. Pitt athletics faced both successes and challenges this year. 

With the closing week of the first term, here are the performances of each fall sport by letter grade. These assigned grades reflect the teams’ performances with a comparison of improvement from previous seasons. 

Volleyball: A+ 

Pitt volleyball undoubtedly stands out as one of the top Pitt teams — this season is nothing short of outstanding. Under head coach Dan Fisher, the program has had much success over the past few years. 

Pitt players celebrate after a point during an afternoon match against Louisville at the Petersen Events Center on Saturday, Nov. 18. (Bronco York | Staff Photographer)

The team ended their regular season with an overall record of 27-4 and a conference record of 16-2. The Panthers are currently seeded as No. 1 in the country in the NCAA tournament. The team is still going for an NCAA national championship title. 

For the fourth consecutive season, the Panthers are going on to the Sweet Sixteen. Breakout players, such as first-year Olivia Babcock and Torrey Stafford, added to the team’s success. Stafford has 334 kills and 384.5 points on the season, while Babcock has 377 kills and 476 points. Overall, this team proves its dominance over all other Pitt sports. 

Football: F

Pitt football is receiving the poorest performance and grade. The team struggled mightily this season. After facing numerous offensive miscues and personnel struggles, including the lack of a reliable quarterback and wide receiver unit for the majority of the season, the team finished with a final record of 3-9 and a conference record of 2-6 in the ACC.

The Panthers’ failures are attributed to the ineffective offense, frequent turnovers and inability to score points. Head Coach Pat Narduzzi will need to find some answers this off-season — including the hiring of a capable offensive coordinator — if the team hopes to come back after an embarrassing 2023 season. 

Women’s Soccer: A

Pitt women’s soccer had quite a successful season. The team made it to the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament and ended the season with 17-6-1 and 6-2-1 in the conference. 

The Panthers concluded the 2023 season by achieving a record-breaking 17 wins, marking the highest number of victories in the history of the program. 

For the first time, Pitt advanced to the semifinals of the ACC Championship and the Elite Eight of the NCAA Championship. Additionally, Pitt women’s soccer had four student-athletes named to the 2023 United Soccer Coaches NCAA Division I Women’s All-Atlantic Region teams. This season was marked by a truly dominant roster. 

Men’s Soccer: C

After making it to the Elite Eight the past three seasons, not making it back to the quarter-finals this year was a disappointing end to the season. The team held high expectations, particularly due to its two appearances in the Final Four over the past three years. 

Freshman Forward Albert Thorsen (9) attempts a midair kick during a match against UNC at the Petersen Sports Complex on Friday, Sept. 29. (Pamela Smith | Contributing Editor)

In the era of head coach Jay Vidovich, this was Pitt’s earliest exit from the national tournament. The team lost to James Madison in just the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Men’s soccer finished their season with a record of 6-7-4 overall and 2-3 in the ACC. For the first time since 2018, the Panthers finished below .500. 

Cross Country: B-

Pitt Cross Country saw notable success in the 2023 season, marking its best performance in recent years. In 2023, the team made significant improvements and will aim to sustain this progress moving forward. 

The men’s team began the year with a strong start, placing fourth in the initial USTFCCCA Mid-Atlantic Regional Poll. Two weeks later, the Panthers would ascend one position to secure the third spot in the poll. 

The women’s team started the season with a seventh place ranking in the USTFCCCA Mid-Atlantic Region Preseason Poll. Following a strong showing at the Joe Piane Invitational, the Panthers climbed up to fourth place in the rankings. This was the highest ranking in program history for the team. 

Overall, both teams performed notably better than in years past. Pitt cross country is on an upward trend over the next few years. 

Pitt athletics saw both successes and challenges during the fall term. While some teams have excelled and achieved impressive results, others faced challenges and struggled to find their footing.​​ 

As the second semester approaches, it will be interesting to see which teams will perform better than the fall sports.

About the Contributor
Lily Peters, Staff Writer
Lily Peters is a sports staff writer for The Pitt News. She is a part of the College of General Studies class of 2027 and is majoring in Media and Professional Communications. Additionally, she is pursuing a certificate in Television and Broadcast Arts.