Weekend Sports Preview: Weekend slate chock full of action

Weekend Sports Preview: Weekend slate chock full of action

Pitt’s athletics are stretched from Syracuse to Baltimore in this busy weekend, and although the football and volleyball seasons are winding down, the Panthers enter a big weekend filled with activity.

Track and field hosts its Blue-Gold meet and the swimming and diving team competes in one of its busiest weekends of the year. Pitt’s wrestlers encounter their first real challenges, first against a fellow top-25 team, then in a tournament featuring 10 of the top 51 ranked teams. The women’s basketball team will look to avoid a losing streak that it hasn’t had since 2004 while the volleyball team is trying to finish its inaugural ACC season strong.

Pitt football at Syracuse

With bowl eligibility on the line for both schools, the Saturday matchup between Pitt (5-5) and Syracuse (5-5) has huge implications for the Panthers, who will face a tough Miami team in their season finale.

Both squads are coming off disappointing losses last week. Against North Carolina, Pitt came back from a 27-3 deficit to tie the score at 27-27, but lost on a second punt return for a touchdown. The Orange apparently traveled to Tallahassee, but after trailing 28-0 after the first quarter, it’s questionable if they actually showed up.

Swimming and diving hosts Pitt Panthers Invitational

Both the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams are in action this weekend as Pitt hosts the Pitt Panthers Invitational at Trees Pool on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Each team is 2-2 after both beat St. Bonaventure and Bucknell and lost to Notre Dame and Virginia Tech.

The invitational brings Cincinnati, Fairmont State and West Virginia Wesleyan to Pittsburgh to take on both the men and the women in swimming and diving. The women will also host California University of Pennsylvania, and the men are set to rematch St. Bonaventure.

Clemson’s diving team will also make the trip.

Track and field hosts Blue-Gold Meet

Today and tomorrow mark the official start to the indoor track and field season, as both the men’s and women’s teams have their annual Blue-Gold Meet.

This intrasquad matchup will split the teams and kicks off today at 3:30 p.m. at the Cost Center. Play resumes Saturday at 8:30 a.m.

Wrestling at Lehigh and Keystone Classic

Pitt heads across the state for a dual meet tonight at No. 25 Lehigh. The nationally ranked No. 20 Panthers will be looking to avenge last season’s 22-14 loss to the Mountain Hawks.

With only two expected matches between ranked opponents — at 133 pounds and 184 pounds — bonus points will prove key for the Panthers to pick up when their best wrestlers take on unranked opponents.

Pitt will remain in the eastern side of the state Sunday for the Keystone Classic in Philadelphia. Hosted by the University of Pennsylvania, this tournament features 12 schools — only two of which are ranked outside the top 51. The event kicks off at 10 a.m. at the Palestra.

The tournament will prove as an early season test for several of Pitt’s All-American candidates.

Women’s Basketball at Loyola Maryland

Despite the Panthers’ recent struggles, they haven’t lost three consecutive nonconference games since 2004, but that’s the situation first-year head coach Suzie McConnell-Serio finds her team facing Saturday at Loyola Maryland.

McConnell-Serio’s Panthers have hit a speed bump in her inaugural campaign, suffering a 48-45 loss at home to Lafayette and an 83-75 loss on the road to Michigan.

The Panthers head to Baltimore to take on Loyola (Md.) Saturday at 1 p.m. Pitt defeated the Greyhounds last year, 57-47.

Volleyball hosts Maryland and North Carolina State

Riding a two-match ACC winning streak, the Pitt volleyball team returns to the Fitzgerald Field House this weekend for its final two matches at home.

First, the Panthers will take on Maryland tonight at 7 p.m. The Terrapins are 13-15 (5-11 ACC) on the season and sit in 12th place in the ACC.

Pitt will celebrate its senior day on Sunday, when they host North Carolina State. The Wolfpack are 20-9 (11-6 ACC) and the fourth-best team in the ACC. The match will be held at 2 p.m. at the Fitzgerald Field House.