NCAA Womens Volleyball

Tales of Triumph for Two Teams

Tales of Triumph for Two Teams

The year 2023 will be long-remembered as a momentous one for the University of Pittsburgh’s fall women’s sports programs. Pitt volleyball continued its run of national excellence, claiming another ACC title and appearing in a third-consecutive Final Four. On the pitch, Pitt women’s soccer rose to unknown heights, setting numerous program records and appearing in its first-ever Elite Eight.

Volleyball

With his team facing a two-set deficit and on the brink of elimination against its biggest rival, Pitt volleyball coach Dan Fisher knew that there was a key element firmly on his side. In fact, there were more than 2,800 of them.ย 

Pitt’s fans, loud and enthusiastic throughout the NCAA quarterfinal match on Dec. 9, 2023, helped to will the Panthers back for their second reverse sweep of the season over Louisville, punching a ticket to the program’s third consecutive Final Four.ย 

The victory put an exclamation point on another remarkable year for Pitt volleyball, which finished with a 29-5 record, a split of the ACC title and a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

Gallery: (12-9-2023) VB vs. Louisville – NCAA Round Four

“It was a year that moved our program forward,” says Fisher. “We were able to solidify ourselves as one of the best teams in the country, year in and year out. We’ve done it four years in a row, making deep runs in the tournament. It’s really hard, so I’m proud of our consistency. It was a hugely successful season in the eyes of the coaches.”ย 

Not only did Pitt’s program become the only one in the nation to be represented in the last three national semifinals, but it did so with a changing cast in each of those years.ย 

When the Panthers first broke through to the Final Four in 2021, they did so with longtime net-front veterans like Kayla Lund and Chinaza Ndee leading the way. In 2022, a key transfer in Courtney Buzzerio paced the Panthers’ attack. But this team was led largely by two first-year players, Olivia Babcock and Torrey Stafford, who finished first and second on the team in kills.ย 

The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) tapped Babcock as its 2023 Freshman of the Year and a First Team All-American. Stafford was named a Third Team All-American and, like Babcock, was named to the 2023 All-ACC First Team.ย 

“It’s certainly one of the things that makes the coaches proud,” says Fisher. “We’ve been…

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