It’s NCAA Volleyball Tourney time and Pitt is It!

Here is a detailed look at the game of volleyball, the Panther’s woman’s volleyball team and NCAA tournament so far. It was written by “John in South Carolina” who is a long time reader who comments now and again. BTW – when I say detailed – I mean detailed!

A little history… Pitt’s women’s volleyball team is in their fifth NCAA tournament in a row.  It should have been for the sixth year in a row but six years ago the NCAA volleyball tournament committee did not believe in Pitt’s Head Coach Dan Fisher and his program. 

However, Louisville was the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) champion this year.  Four teams from the ACC surprisingly made the 48 team bracket this year.  Pitt was the best seeded of the other three conference mates. Beside Pitt, Notre Dame and Georgia Tech also made the tournament.  Pitt split two matches with Louisville and Notre Dame and swept the only match with Georgia Tech.

Here is a good article about Pitt’s volleyball season and how it got to the tournament.

One thing of note in the article is that Coach Fisher could not work with his players very much due to Covid at the beginning of the season.  This lead to two losses to Syracuse to start the season which would not have happened in any normal year, in my opinion.  Those two losses cost us the ACC championship. 

Coach Fisher is one of Pitt’s coaches that truly develops his players!  Pitt’s recruiting class for next year is already signed.  They have filled all the positions of need and have one open scholarship assuming all the seniors leave.  Coach Fisher is holding this scholarship for a graduate transfer I believe.

Here is a site that gives you an overview of the terms in Woman’s Volleyball:

If you are new to volleyball or just a casual observer here are the basics.  There are six players per side.  There are three hits allowed before the ball must cross the net between the two antennae, one on each end of the net.  A player is not allowed to touch the net.  If they touch the net during a point, the opposing side gets the point. 

A block at the net does not constitute a touch.  A player cannot hit the ball twice in a row except if the first touch is on a block.  A point starts with a serve by the team in possession of the ball.  A match end when a team wins three sets.  The first four sets in a match are won when a team reaches 25 points.  A team must win a set by two points or more.  If a fifth set is necessary that set goes only to 15 points.  Again the winning team must win by two points.  All sets continue until a team wins by two points. 

A team keeps servings if they win the point.  When the opposing team wins a point they then get to serve.  This is called a change of possession.  After each change of possession the players rotate in a clockwise manner.  During a rotation is also when players are normally substituted.  At the serve the players must be in their respective positions to each other on the court. 

After the serve, with a couple exceptions, they are free to move around the court.  A point starts with a serve.  The opposing team receives the serve with the first hit.  You cannot block or spike a serve.  After the “receive” on the first hit, the setter usually is the next person to touch the ball.  She sets the ball for her team’s hitters to kill the ball.  If the set is perfect, a hitter will be able to contact it at the top of her leap as close to the net as possible.  When all three of these things occur, the team is said to be “in system”. 

In other words, this is the ideal way for a team to play.  At this point the goal of the other team is to block the kill or dig it.  That means one or two of the opposing players get in front of the attacking player and try to stuff her kill back across the net.  Blocks are scored and a block can be solo or split by two players.  If there is no block a back row player goes to dig the kill and keep it in play.  If the kill is successful, the setter gets an assist and the attacking player is credited with a kill. 

The kill percentage for a player is the total number of kills minus the number of kill errors divided by total attempts.  A kill error is a kill that goes out of bound without anyone touching it.  Due to this formula a player and a team can have a negative kill percentage.  Players are broken down into hitters/blockers, setters, and defensive specialist/liberoes. (Ed: it’s OK here is a video also)   The libero is a defensive specialist that wears an opposite colored jersey than the rest of the team.  There are some special rules for liberoes with the most important being that when she goes in and out of the lineup she does not count as a substitution. 

There are 12 substitutions allowed per set by a team.  A libero only is allowed in the back row, hence the reason she does not count as a substitution.  In Division 1 NCAA Women’s Volleyball an institution can have up to 12 players on full scholarship.  In order to keep this article manageable I will stop with the basics here.

Pitt this year is playing a 6-2 offense.  What that means is Pitt is using six hitters (attackers) and two setters.  So, if you are only allowed six persons on the court, how can Pitt be doing this?  Simple, by double substituting Pitt always tries to have three hitters at the net and a setter in the back row.  Pitt’s two setters are #1 Lexis Akeo and #6 Kylee Levers

Pitt’s six hitters are led by two-time ACC player of the year and first team All-ACC #23 Kayla Lund.  Kayla leads the team in kills.  She is also a six rotation player.  This simply means as long as she is not tired the coach will let her on the court even when she is in the back row.  Kayla is a pretty good server.  She also makes a lot of digs.  Kayla has a good many double/double games.  This means she has had games where she has had double digit kills and double digit digs. 

Pitt’s other hitters are first team ACC #5 Chinaza Ndee, second team ACC #11 Sabrina Starks, #18 Jordan Lockwood, #2 Valeria Vazquez Gomez, and #20 Chiamaka NwokoloJordan Lockwood was the Junior College player of the year last year.  She led her team to the NCAA Junior College Championship title.  She had a slow start in the fall but she is coming on strong now. 

When Pitt substitutes usually Lockwood and Akeo come in as a pair.  Pitt’s main libero now is sophomore #4 Ashley Browske.  She is one of the reason Pitt turned around their season. 

At the beginning of the year our starting libero was graduate transfer #9 Marija Popovic from East Tennessee State University.  In the fall during some of the matches the opposing teams were actually serving at her, not a good sign for a position considered a defensive specialist.  She has been playing better in the spring but Browske is the far better player at this point. 

Pitt has one server specialist and that is #10 Zoi Faki.  Pitt’s best surprise this year has been Vazquez Gomez.  Next year if she continues her development she is the logical heir apparent to Kayla Lund.  She is a six position player now if not for Kayla.

All games in this year’s tournament are in Omaha, Nebraska.  The first round games are not being played in ideal conditions to say the least.  There are no locker rooms for the first round as the games are in a convention center.  ESPN is now going to have announcers for all first round games and they will be shown on the ESPN 3 streaming service.  ESPN was just going to broadcast the games previously with no commentary.  Pitt plays its first match on Wednesday, April 14th at 10:30 PM EDT against Long Island University (LIU) of the Northeastern Conference.  This should be a three-set sweep if Pitt is playing up to their potential.  LIU was the second-best team in the NEC. 

Sacred Heart, the best team, could not field a team for the championship game due to Covid tracing issues.  LIU best players are from overseas as they have New York City as a recruiting tool.  Fisher is friends with the LIU coach from when they both coached at lower college levels. 

Pitt then plays the University of Utah in the second round on Thursday, April 15th at 10:30 PM EDT.  Utah drew a bye in this year’s 48 team bracket.  I will try to write a follow-up article to look at how Pitt stacks up with Utah this year.  Last year Pitt beat Utah, 3-1, at a tournament in California.  In the current streak of trips to the NCAA tournament, Pitt has not been able to get it past the second round. 

Two years ago Lund got hurt in the first round.  Last year they lost to a team they beat in the regular season.  Both years the first two rounds were at the Peterson Events Center and hosted by Pitt.

Some things to look for during the LIU match. 

How balanced is Pitt’s attack?  If the kills are being spread out over the six hitters then it is hard for the opposing team to key on one or two hitters.  Pitt has spread out their offense this year better than they have in any year since Coach Fisher arrived. 

How is Pitt serving?  We should have more aces than service errors.  This has been a weakness of Pitt this year.  Between evenly matched team, this is the stat that usually decides the match.  It also allows a lesser opponent to beat a clearly better team. 

Pitt went to five sets with Duke and almost lost the match because of service errors.  Ironically they won the match on two service aces.  What is Pitt’s hitting percentage?  Anything above 0.200 is good.  What is the opposing team’s hitting percentage?  If we are holding them under 0.100 then we should be winning the match easily.  Same holds if we are hitting over 0.300. 

For the year Pitt is hitting 0.262 and our opponents are hitting 0.146.  If you want to keep stats during a match start with service aces and errors.  Next thing to record are number of kills and blocks.  A very good sign for Pitt, if there are no injuries, is if Russ, Popovic, and Flood get in the match.  Flood has been used a service specialist.  That means Fisher is emptying his bench.  Even if the match goes to four sets he thinks he is in control of the match and is giving tournament experience to his younger players.

The End (of lesson!)

The 1978 Pitt volleyball team, coached by Mike Hebert and playing home games at Trees Hall, was the school’s first to win the Eastern regional championship and advance to the collegiate volleyball national championships, then held by the AIAW, where they finished 13th in the nation

152 thoughts on “It’s NCAA Volleyball Tourney time and Pitt is It!

  1. Fisher is Pitts best coach. He’s slowly starting to get top 20 talent. The ACC is really unremarkable in volleyball. This year was the one exception. I believe the playoff field was reduced from the standard 64 and only the top 16 teams got ranked. Pitt got an at large. Pitt should beat their first two opponents. Utah is overranked. Pitt is playing like a top ten team. That means a likely matchup against Minnesota? Then on to the quarterfinals I think. I see Pitt as a Final 4 team this year. It has leadership in its seniors. Narduzzi needs to watch and take notes.


    1. Pitt has some weaknesses. On of them is their serve. That is one of my pet peeves when I am watching any volleyball match. A service error literally gives the other team a point without them doing anything. It also results in a change of possession which allows the opposing team then to get into rotation they favor. The Duke match was not Pitt’s finest hour. Some players use a spin jump serve which is a very high risk, high return, serve. There are very few players that can pull it off consistently and because of that it is not high on my list of preferred serves.

      A second weakness of Pitt is their lack of height. Several commenters on this blog have made note of the fact that a good tall front line may give Pitt some problems. Pitt has been able to overcome this so far with their leaping ability. Starks is one player that comes to mind. She is listed at 6′ 2″ but she plays much taller than that. I have seen her play in person several times. Against Penn State last year up at State College handled herself very well against their much taller players. Ndee is listed at 5′ 11″ and she also plays taller but that only gets her to “normal” height in volleyball stature.


  2. Wrapping up last thread:

    Reed, how well did JM get along with the Pitt administration and Athletics Dept while he was at Pitt? What was his stated reason for leaving? It looks like things went South for him in 1964/65, his last two years of coaching at Pitt.


    1. The 1965 season, Pitt suffered quite a few blowout losses and Pitt students called for JM’s ouster, as they wondered how things deteriorated so fast after the 9-1 1963 season when Pitt finished ranked #4.

      Even an end of season, last second victory over Psux could not save JM’s job, as AD Frank Carver hired
      Dave Hart, just a few weeks after the final game of both Johnny Mike’s career at Pitt and Rip Engle’s
      at Psux.

      From there the football fortunes of both schools changed drastically until another JM appeared on
      Pitt’s campus in 1973. Kind of ironic don’t ya think.

      Pitt did win another National Championship(our 9th) before Psux won their 1st. And Psux became
      Pedo State.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pitt is afraid of scaring away the old money donors who don’t the the difference between a football and basketball. Fricks, hillmans, scaifes, and Dietrich families.


  4. That was a good introduction to volleyball for those not familiar with it. When I played in order to win a point you had to serve. Now with rally scoring the game is much more interesting and FASTER! Games were only to 15 points I think (that was a long time ago!)

    OT, our baseball team SWEPT MIami this weekend by winning another game convincingly today. They should move up in the rankings since Miami was ranked higher than us. Another really fun game to watch. I am getting a lot of use from my HULU subscription this year.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Annie: I purposely left that out of my article because I did not want to date anyone:) Sets/games were only to 15 then.


  5. John – Thanks for the education. I hope you enjoyed writing it and sharing your knowledge. Overwhelmed by your provided links but i now know enough to half way follow what the TV commenters are describing. Previously, it was gibberish.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Congratulations to all the PITT secondary sports programs. Great job and kudos to all involved including the coaches and players the most.


  7. Thank you John in SC. Been following volleyball all year and I did not know any of that. Still afraid of big front lines for our ladies but I wish the football team had half their fight!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi John and Annie ….in Basketball you can get position on taller players and box them out. What do you do in volleyball to offset big front lines?


      1. Dan, it’s hard to go up against taller players with good blocking form ( their hands are above the net and facing down), but the best you can do is try to hit it off the sides of their hand ( kind of spin it off them) or go “high hands” and hit it high so that it barely touches their fingers. Then you hope their touch makes the ball soar over the players behind them. Otherwise you hope for a hole in the block where the middle blocker hasn’t shuffled over to set up a wall in front of the hitter. The setter needs to be aware of the blockers and can often get them out of position by moving the ball across the court or setting an unexpected player ( back row hitter). Where the setter can put the ball depends alot on the pass they receive from the back line player. A good pass will give the setter 3 hitting options so the defense doesn’t have time to set up against the hitter. It is a very strategic game.

        Liked by 2 people

          1. When my son was setting in college he told me his job was to get a hitter 1 on 1 with a blocker, then the hitter should be able to get the kill.

            Liked by 1 person

  8. Pitt is ranked #19 in the latest rankings. Which is a good number, my birthdate.

    Back in the day, the West Coast schools were far superior in this sport. I see from the rankings, not so much anymore.

    Thought I was pretty good in volleyball, played some 2 man beach volleyball which is pretty grueling.
    And more than held my own on the Jersey Shore. And then in Florida.

    Went out to Hawaii and played on Waikiki for a couple of months. Wow…just amazing players. Both sexes.

    It was about 10 years after the Jersey and Florida action. I was still in pretty good shape, but these players
    in Hawaii were hard to keep up with. It was still fun, but I no longer could affect a match much.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. OT: Pitt 2021 BB team is the first ACC team to sweep both Miami and Florida State in the same year since 2006. How is it possible for a northern school to be to accomplish such a feat in the very heart of baseballs spring training country?

    Liked by 2 people

  10. It’s very difficult for any northern school to finish in the top 25. Particularly one that plays southern schools.

    Pitt is overachieving this season. I attribute that to coaching. Yet Coach Bell wouldn’t have made excuses. His teams find ways to win.

    And he didn’t need six years to show it.


  11. About asparagus…when you get the thick skinned large stalks some cut a bunch of that harder lower part off – which is a waste.

    Instead, cut the very bottom off with a thin slice then take a vegetable peeler and peel the skin off the bottom half or so then steam it. That way you can eat the whole stalk.


    1. At the farm market I work at, they say to just snap the bottom off. The stalk breaks at the right place. Shaving the bottom off, like Reed said, is another option.


      1. That’s what I do – snap bottom off. Got to find the right spot. I then nibble the top of the snap offed section
        for fresh raw asparagus. Sweet and tasty. My asparagus stalks are larger then pencil size but usually not large enough to make it worthwhile to shave. Never prepared asparagus steamed only sauté or grill.


  12. John in SC is going to do a pregame article for us about Wednesday’s VB match also. What a well written piece he did above huh?

    Can you get articles like this in any other Pitt sports blog? I think not.

    Is there anyway to watch or listen to the games?

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Reed, according to the article from the Trib you linked above the games are currently scheduled to be shown on ESPN 3.
    And thanks for the asparagus tip…can’t find that on any other Pitt blog either. Haha.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Excellent article. Loved playing volleyball, with friends and beer on a hot summer day.
    Lot’s of skills required. Good to learn about our players and coach.
    Been using Reed’s asparagus tip for years. Love going to Schramm’s farm for fresh picked,
    Far superior to grocery store bought. The fresher the better, a friends mom used to cut it and serve it for breakfast.


    1. We grew it at our old house for years. Had 4 plants, and was usually sick of it by the time harvesting stopped. Asparagus every day, even as good as it was, got to be too much. I just planted a couple plants in my current garden. Stalks are up- only have to wait 2 years to harvest now.


  15. If I am not mistaken, both Pitt VB and BB have recruited and utilized JC players successfully.


  16. What a great article!! Thanks so much John!

    I’ve always enjoyed watching the game — the athleticism is unbelievable — but never understood more than the very basics. Never too old to learn.

    Let the games begin.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Strange as it may be, didn’t have asparagus until teens and of course thought I was diseased afterward

    should have a warning label 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Checked out the POV to see what topics were under discussion. I see its Pitt’s women’s volleyball and asparagus. I know asparagus can improve digestive health and helps lower blood pressure. Apparently the success of Pitt women’s volleyball can too by relieving the indigestion, stress and tension caused by following Pitt football and basketball. Good luck in the tournament team Pitt.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. The smell of my pee after eating home grown asparagus reminds me of the smell of both Pitt football and basketball.


  19. Coach Marion Tweet: “Seen some great Tight Ends in my day. This guy Krull is Next! Physical Capturing The Edge. Can Run all the routes with speed! Great hands not to mention 6’6″ 255lbs. The best is yet to come.”—–Here is hoping Marion is right on all counts.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Coach Marion obviously a “koolaid” drinker. After he’s here a while, he will learn how things work…

      Go Pitt.


  20. How sweet it is to talk asparagus and volleyball instead of reading 50 times how Heather and Narduzzi suck. Thinner asparagus I will lightly oil topped with garlic and parm cheese then broil for a few minutes. Thicker asparagus I may par-boil first.

    Now back to hairy arms and yellow blouses??

    Liked by 2 people

  21. As others have said, excellent article, John. I have watched the Pitt Ladies play but didn’t understand much more than was the ball in or out. Thanks for the lesson.

    On an unrelated note, I saw an article this morning about Kevin Ollie being hired to coach in a new basketball league for top 16 to 18 year olds. These players will be paid hundreds of thousands of dollars plus image and likeness fees as they prepare for the NBA or the G League. This appears to be a serious venture with a 40 person staff. I assume it will provide an alternative to college for those who want to play the game without the hassle of academics. If successful, I doubt we’ll be seeing any more one and dones playing the college game. It is not clear what the revenue source is for this new league so who knows if it will work. But maybe a game changer?

    The announcement is made at several sources including ESPN and ABC News. I would link one here but every time I do my post disappears.


  22. A huge thanks for the extremely well written article about volleyball. John, it was Volleyball 101
    and I hope that I have retained enough knowledge to earn a B+.

    Liked by 3 people

  23. ike, we have all been benefiting from your recipes in the past, and I still think you should publish a POV cookbook. You could add a vegetable section that includes these wonderful asparagus ideas. If POVers would submit their favorite recipes (we all know Tex has a few good ones), this could be a money making proposition for the minor Pitt sports. What say you?


  24. Ike’s Tailgating Cookbook… I like the sound of it! Or maybe Ike’s Tailgating Delicacies!


  25. I like the POV Cookbook idea for sure. But can this group of non-agreers, come together to support a cause or two. Actually, I would want to earmark the funds for a POV walk-on scholarship!

    I can put together a few recipes with bacon in it…..

    Pigs in a blanket is typically me and the family at a Steeler Stadium event…..


  26. I luv the cookbook idea

    I’m also thinking calendar. For instance, your dog (or dare I say cat) dressed in Pitt gear. Pets are fans to.

    I’m not thinking pigs. 🐷


  27. Forget a cookbook! We need a Calander of POV Ladies. Annie can be Mrs. Jan al the way through to Mrs. December. Haha


  28. Got some stuffed banana peppers from Big Bs favorite store in Apollo to go with my asparagus tonight.


    1. Is that the store by the bridge? I loved that store and would stop there every time I had service work to do in the area.


  29. Excellent article John. My daughter played volleyball and I played some backyard beach as a teen and into college. One of the toughest team sports I’ve ever played. I always liked the knuckleball serve as opposed to the spiking spin. I used to throw a good knuckle pitching baseball but now my fingers are shot.

    However, Golf is by far the toughest sport.

    Tex whose ancient ancestors helped create the most frustrating game on earth.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I prefer the knuckleball serve as well. It is easier to learn the some of the other serves and can be surprisingly consistent.


  30. Ok here’s another asparagus recipe. Mince 2 garlic cloves with 1/2 tsp coarse salt. Scrape into a bowl and whisk in 3 Tblsp lemon juice and 2 Tblsp Dijon mustard. Slowly drizzle in 3/4 cup olive oil ( or olive/ salad oil mix) and whisk until thickened. Season with salt/ pepper. Trim 2 lbs asparagus and add to a skillet with boiling salted water. Add in small batches. Cook until just tender, remove and refresh under cold water. Drain and dry, cover and refrigerate. Just before serving drizzle with vinaigrette, sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley and serve the rest of the vinaigrette on the side. Can be made ahead of time, very easy to do and a great way to serve up the asparagus. With my fresh picked stuff it takes only minutes to cook.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. i like Fried okra, so I was attempting fried asparagus the other night while pan frying some catfish.

    It came out pretty good, but still experimenting with ways to keep the flour/bread crumbs actually
    on the asparagus.

    The catfish as always was par excellence, floured/bread crumbed and then pan fried.

    Sounds like a good recipe Annie, as I like tossing cut up asparagus in salads too !


  32. Put a little flour in your bread crumbs and mix well. This will help the crumbs stick better. Dip flour then eggs then crumbs with a little flour.


  33. wife does some amazing grilled asparagus
    hot, hard grill with olive oil and spices – don’t ask me which

    also great grilled salmon similar hot, hard crusted

    don’t ask me to cook….my range is chicken soup, apple pie and microwave scrambled eggs w/cheese to which I can toast a great bagel or rye bread w/butter

    oh, and hot dogs 🙂


  34. Or use an air fryer. It is my new favorite appliance. Makes the best wings we’ve ever had. Good fried zucchini and french fries too. I have a toaster oven/ air fryer combo. Love it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I have 4 air fryers now. Those things are great. We even threw some frozen filet mignons in one last week and after 20 minutes at 380, came out perfect….Medium Rare and grilled on the outside.

      Haven’t tried the catfish in one yet. next time, next time !

      Liked by 1 person

    2. true, good call on the air fryer

      we have 3, but you definitely need at least 2

      IF you haven’t bought yet, the basket MUST separate from the insertion tray so as not to pour out the oil drippings, etc


  35. I’m in the air fryer camp too…
    Annie, I made your dressing with asparagus tonight. It was great.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Wow, after a hard day of work I come home, grab a glass of wine, and look forward to an entire days worth of POV postings. What a treat! Between a fantastic overview of volleyball and Pitt’s team, to asparagus recipes, life doesn’t get any better than this. Thank you Reed, Mike, John, Annie, Ike, Tex, and everyone on the POV for contributing to the best blog around. H2P!

    Liked by 5 people

  37. That AAC player of the Year….who Capel was after. Jayden Gardner, did want to play in the ACC after all.

    Just not with us…..he signed on with Virginia this evening.

    The Portal now stands at 1328.

    Pitt stands at Zero landed.


  38. The thicker the asparagus the more tender.
    And grill it with butter and garlic.
    And while I’m at it, plant your garlic in the fall…never in the spring. I suggest either Music or German Extra Hardy for hard garlic and Susanville for soft garlic.


  39. It’s easy to grow asparagus. Just make sure it has lose and well drained soil. Plant using raised beds. You don’t need to fertilize. It has few if any pests or diseases.

    Does well in full sun. Provides a nice five to six foot high fern like hedge in the summer. Trim back the ferns to the ground in late winter….they will be yellow and brown by then.

    Never boil any vegetable. Steam them or roast them for full flavor and to retain all their vitamins and minerals.

    Tex – a chef and gardener.


  40. You should get at least 15 years of production. Asparagus is a perennial coming back every year. You can buy the plants or crowns at any big box retailer. It will come in a sealed bag packed in peat. Best to plant in late winter. You’ll get a crop in your second year.

    You should get a few good weeks of Spears when it starts coming in. Check every day. Spears not cut will keep growing and develop a fern like look. It’s a flowering vegetable I think associated with the lily family. Yellow flowers with red berries. It’s very drought tolerant once established.

    You may see a colorful beetle on the plant once the plant begins sending up thin fern like shoots. I never worry about that critter. He’s got to eat to.


  41. BigB’s summer garden goes in next week. Would suggest German Johnson or german Queen for you tomato lovers..they are a pink tomato and meatier, sweeter than any red tomato…


  42. I have a hard time seeing Tennessee giving away more than three points in this game. It would be a minor upset but not shocking at all if Pitt came out of Knoxville with a win.


  43. This makes me sick and I don’t care if “everyone is doing it”:

    Update (9:18 PM)- from PSN

    **Tonight, Brennan Marion extends an offer to 8th grader Jordon Davison from California. The 6-foot running back also has been offered by Florida Atlantic and Arizona State.

    Liked by 1 person

  44. Yesterday was 412 day
    Gotta respect whipple for this


  45. I see the POV is done talking asparagus and has returned to Pitt sports. Darn, I was just about to send in an article about my famed green bean casserole.

    Liked by 1 person

  46. With Malik Newton entering the transfer portal, I guess that opens up an additional scholarship for the upcoming season. Newton was keeping his scholarship if he stayed. Maybe Narduzzi can grab someone interesting off of the transfer portal to plug a hole…


    1. Pitt might land a transfer running back. A guy on the Lair spoke with Whipple on a flight from Phoenix to Pittsburgh last week. It wasn’t a BS post either. Some think it might be a kid from Boston College. Other possible names were mentioned but none that I recall.


    2. Newton was not on a FB scholarship when the medical team marked him ineligible. However Pitt was going to give him a scholarship to stay at Pitt and stand by their commitment to him. He just wasn’t going to be on FB scholarship.

      Liked by 1 person

  47. Nothing but more “good” news for Pitt Football. ESPN FPI Poll has Penn State with a 17% chance to win the Big 10 …Pitt with a 3.5% chance to win the Coastal and 0.5% chance to win the conference! Every ACC team but two rated ahead of Pitt. About right for Narduzzi. Better recruiting but he can’t coach em up. 6-6 again.

    Year 7 off to a great start!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve been anti-Narduzzi since news first broke that he called Pitt up and begged for an interview.

      Last year, I got sucked in and gave him the benefit of a doubt. Actually believed the reputed defensive “Guru” could coach up an obviously TALENTED Defense and win himself 9 games. Nope.

      Should have stuck with my original premise.


    2. C’mon Dan, keep the faith! The experts haven’t got PITT right for years and how do we know that Tex didn’t write that article? Sure sounds like it Me? I see nine or ten wins coming up. KP has a great season.


      1. The experts here have done really well with respect to Pitt football for many years. Mediocrity.

        KP should have at least one great season out of five. The odds are in his favor, but his history is not.

        Glad to see you posting Ike. Missed you around these parts.


  48. Kayla Lund repeats as AVCA East Coat Region Player of the Year. Three other Pitt players also named. Just to put this in perspective, volleyball powerhouse PSU is in the East Coast Region and Kayla was considered better than any its players for the this title two years in a row!! Hail to Pitt!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. But they aren’t afraid to change both football and basketball coaches in the same year. They don’t reward mediocrity like Pitt. They actually make changes to reverse a bad course. Sometimes it pays off. Sometimes not. But they aren’t afraid to take calculated risks for a good return or payoff.


      1. Fail is fail, proof, changes made for the sake of it is not the answer. saying they aren’t afraid to make changes and still lose is double talk out the wazoo!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I would make a pitt change in coaches because we know what Narduzzi is and what he isn’t.

          He’s a six win average coach

          He’s 1-3 in bowls

          He’s never won more than 8 games

          He’s had more than enough time

          Look at how quickly the soccer, volleyball and baseball coaches have succeeded.


          1. Last 4 years he’s 26 & 24. That is pretty much on target at 6.5 wins and 6.0 losses per. The epitome of an average coach at best.

            Minus the 6 rent-a-scrub wins over the same 4 years brings him in at 20 & 24. 5 wins & 6 losses per

            So minus the Rent-a-Scrubs….he’s a Below Average Coach. And a very well paid one at that.


  49. The Newton kid must have got another Medical opinion concerning his heart health. Since he has
    plans to transfer and play football somewhere else.

    Pitt lost another stud kid like this a few years ago. George Hill I think his name was.

    So I wonder, does Pitt only go by 1 opinion of 1 doctor or is it a team of doctors or what exactly
    are they doing ???


  50. Doc, Hill has never played again but the Gilbert kid transferred and I believe played football again.

    Jack, the store you’re thinking of is Naser Foods. I think B knows of another store in Apollo though?


    1. Yes, that was another one I remembered since Zack Gilbert was/is the son of Sean Gilbert , former Pitt great and NFL 1st Rounder.

      Despite receiving clearance from a doctor at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, Zack was denied the chance to rejoin his teammates by the Pitt administration. They determined, for reasons that are plausible, the risk was too great for his health.

      “They said even though I got cleared, they just couldn’t take a chance,” Gilbert said at the time of the news.

      So that’s like 3 top rated players, we’ve lost due to medical issues that other doctors in 2 instances, (Newton & Gilbert) didn’t agree with Pitt doctors. Mayo clinic is considered one of the best
      medical facilities in the USA, as many of you know.


  51. Re: the Pitt fan on the plane with Whipple – what difference is it going to make doing new things with the same crap level of “O” talent playing? It may be even worse with our OL losses.

    Well, the last time I spoke one on one with the current Pitt HC it was on a Manhattan street corner on right before the Pinstripe bowl where he, in full Pitt sweats from hat to shoes (yes folks, this man is indeed from out of town), was holding a ton of gift bags and looking around because he was lost.

    Because I had lived in NYC for three years I offered to help him back to the team hotel. When he recognized it was me he took off. I guess I should have asked him then if he knew he would be 22-24 over the next two years.


  52. Folks, please keep the guest articles coming, we all love them.

    Anyone feel like punching up a short piece on the Pitt baseball team?

    Who is a star, who are the. good pitchers, team strength and weaknesses, the home run hitters, base stealers, batting order and good subs, etc…? How is management?

    I’ll pay $0.001 for each word so a 1,500 word article would get you $1.50 or a free beer on Fran at a tailgate.


  53. Glad to help Reed…indeed free tailgate beer for anyone penning an article Reed deems as worthy!

    Above should say “free beer from Wolfe’s cooler” haha.

    Nasers in Apollo is where I got the outstanding stuffed banana peppers

    Liked by 1 person

  54. Pitt baseball beats Lipscomb this afternoon 9-6

    All but 2nd baseman Yanni with hits. Yanni has struggled at the plate since being injured vs VT a few weeks ago.

    Go Pitt!

    Liked by 1 person

  55. Reported that Capel is the sixth-highest paid coach in the ACC. Talk about a coach not earning his lettuce. All Jeff needs is seven players in the rotation and he cannot even acquire that with so-called recruiting chops.


  56. Our Lady Panthers getting some national love…

    NCAA.COM | APRIL 8, 2021
    5 unseeded college volleyball teams to watch out for in the 2021 NCAA tournament

    We are now under a week away from April 14 — the start of the DI women’s volleyball tournament. A lot of you might be getting ready to fill out those NCAA women’s volleyball tournament brackets soon. But before you do, let me put a few teams on your radar. Here are 5 unseeded teams we will see in the first round that you should know about.

    UCLA volleyball
    UCLA should hardly be considered a dark horse considering they very well could have received a top 16 seed this year. The Bruins finished the season 14-6, and out of all of the unseeded teams in this year’s bracket, they have the most experience and the most wins over tournament teams.

    They have a win over 6-seed Washington this year, 10-seed Oregon, 14-seed Utah and 15-seed Washington State. All of those wins also came with a loss in the series, though. They have been super hot and cold all season long. But still, it shows they are capable. Don’t take for granted a group led by experienced players that have been in the tournament before. In this case, they have a very talented Mac May leading the group.

    Rice VB
    This group is led by Nicole Lennon, an AVCA All-American Honorable Mention in 2019. She put up an impressive 4.28 kills per set for the Owls this season. At the very end of the regular season, the Owls lost in a five-set heartbreaker to Baylor — one that saw 28 ties, 10 lead changes and could have gone either way. But in the next match, Rice knocked off then No. 2 Texas for the second consecutive year. Lennon had 18 kills in that win. Not lot of teams got to face many tournament teams due to in-conference schedules this season. Rice did. Put some value in that.
    Next up, another C-USA team — Western Kentucky. I think this is a really good team. Put them on your radar for some possible upsets in the tourney. Let me list a few reasons.
    They are 21-0. In its conference? Mostly yes, but that is a lot of wins and a lot of playing for a year where not all teams in the tournament were on the court that often.
    They beat Rice for the C-USA title. The team I just talked about beating Texas. In fact, WKU has won the C-USA title in each of the six years it has been in the conference.
    Setter Nadia Dideonne is second in the nation in assists per set. It helps that she has two skilled hitters in Lauren Matthews and Paige Briggs. These two have experience and proven success. They played in the tournament last year and were just narrowly eliminated in five sets to Louisville. Those same Cardinals went on and upset Texas.
    The Panthers had a slightly different path this season than in 2019, when they were ranked very high all year and seeded in the tournament. However, they still have the ACC Player of the Year for the second year in a row in Kayla Lund. That’s the star power that can make a difference in the tournament. The Panthers had a 12-0 spring season and split the series with Louisville, a seeded team, and Notre Dame in the ACC.
    Lastly, keep your eye on Pepperdine. They are on the bottom left side of the bracket, and if they make it out of the first round, they will face 12-seed Baylor. This is an interesting matchup since they have already played one another this season and the Waves pushed the Bears to five sets. They also beat 16-seed BYU in the regular season.

    Michella Chester’s work has appeared on, FOX Sports South, Atlanta Blaze MLL and SB Nation. She is a graduate of the University of Georgia where she played lacrosse and earned a degree in Journalism and Sport Media Certificate. Follow her on Twitter @michellachester.

    Liked by 2 people

  57. My favorite team is indeed volleyball. I am sort of a fair weather fan who still learned a lot about volleyball from this article that I didn’t grasp earlier, but certain things conspired for me to like this team. 1.) I am a California guy. My Dad went to high school in Pasadena. Kayla Lund was recruited out of Pasadena, CA. 2) I graduated from PITT. 3) Before the paid ACC Network came into being I had that period when I was able to watch ACC Network extra content for free. I got to watch a lot of volleyball/football during that time. 4) Although I can’t quite grasp how well I would do under a coach like Dan Fisher, I really like how cerebral he is in the way he communicates.

    The year Kayla Lund got injured, I do not know if the team really would have progressed further in the tournament if she played. Now, I admit it is quite reasonable to believe so. However, Zoi Faki played quite well on short notice in that second round match. If anything, the mismatch is that her energy and excitement was not commensurate with the rest of the team. (Zoi’s dancing is critical for the team. Furthermore, a person needs to operate out of who they are. However, at that time the most excitable players would probably be Nika Markovic and Kayla Lund herself. Zoi’s excitement seemed to contrast with the muted control of Stephanie Williams and the type of demeanor Coach Fisher takes). The rhythm of not having Kayla may have short-ended a potential breakout year, but in my view Zoi vindicated herself well in that she played well enough for PITT to advance.

    The next year I will comment less on, but it was a wonderful season including that W over Penn State. They came up short in the tourney, of course.

    Due to what has unfolded, I am one like Annie and John in South Carolina to exert some caution as the size of certain teams may not bode well for PITT. Yet, like Tex, this may be a great year for PITT. I think the lower seed may be great. I am not predicting final four like him, but if PITT does have a versatility that makes them a hard out.

    Do you think Russ will get more play in the tourney to bolster the size of the frontline?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope Pitt’s volleyball team does well and we go far.

      However, there is something unseen that is always working against us.
      We had that magical 10 year ride in football and to a certain extent in basketball, but not nearly
      as grandious. And that morphed into a ridiculous slide into oblivion. Which is still sliding into
      god knows what.

      The rest has been an unspeakable concoction of conundrums.
      All at the same time UPMC is soaring into sights and revenues into infinity.

      Something is definitely amiss. Call it what you may.


    2. No Russ is a year away from being a regular player. Only if Pitt suffers an injury will Russ play in a meaningful set!


  58. From the Trib based on yesterday’s PN presser:

    Narduzzi said it takes more than good blocking by the front five to make the run game go. He expects more physicality at tight end with Lucas Krull healthy after missing most of last season with a shoulder injury.

    “Lucas is a beast right now,” the coach said. “Lucas is playing like first-round (draft) material, knock on a lot of wood here. Lucas is a lot more physical than he was a year ago, a lot healthier. He (enrolled) with the shoulder. We knew that was an issue. He wasn’t as strong as he needed to be.


  59. Coach fisher is from Santa Barbara. He excelled as a player. He excelled in previous coaching positions. He has a track record of success and developing players.

    You want his profile for other coaches. I actually used some of his attributes in putting together my lists of fives for both basketball and football.

    I personally believe he is Pitts best coach. Coach Jay is a close second. Coach Gavin and Bell round out the top 4.

    Don’t ask me what I think of Narduzzi. Every time I listen to his pressers I blow an aneurism.


  60. I applaud the effort but it will take winning to get fans back and an exciting team to provide good value. Those appear to be immovable constraints given this coaching staff.

    Pitt can’t even give away free tickets at the moment.


  61. I applaud the effort but it will take winning and an entertaining team to get fans back and to provide good entertainment value. Pitt can’t even give away free tickets for this bad product.


  62. Sorry for double post

    One interesting take away is constant engagement with fans. And making fans aware of ticket availability. And of course providing flexible pricing options.

    Airline industry has been doing this for nearly 20 years now. They are masters at pricing optimization.


    1. I hope Pitt didn’t pay them for any ticket optimization last year in any sport……..

      I guess I would be thankful too if I were them. Who pays them during COVID year? Heather should have proactively leaned into her vast extension repertoire and told the firm, Hey, you didn’t optimize squat for ticket sales for over a year, so let’s not pay you for the year and just add-on one year to the current deal. It would be embarrassing if Pitt paid them for season ticket optimization during a year where 27 tickets were sold…..

      Pitt PR should have come out with that story and painted Pitt as being proactive and just not paying for the year despite the contract. Plenty of ways not to pay during the last year, even if contract was in place. Wouldn’t it be great to hear about how Pitt protected its funds? Same with private jet usage contracts. Pitt should have immediately called their partners and said, put a stop on charging us monthly due to covid and we will extend an extra year on the back end. Proactive business decisions versus reactive mediocrity.


      1. let’s assume they did all that

        or not, like you and disparage, warranted or not

        whatever, POV nonsense


  63. OT – the Goose to stopped by the “office”.

    See new Tweets

    Pat Narduzzi
    Great to have an all time great Pitt Man
    stop by the office today!! Looks like he can still play!! #h
    11:17 AM · Apr 14, 2021·Twitter for iPhone


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