Pitt’s WVB Final Four Opponent: Louisville

May be an image of 3 people, people playing sports and indoorEditor’s Note: Here is the Victory Dance Party after the Wisky win...

As I stated in the opening our next opponent is very familiar, Louisville.  For the first time ever, the NCAA women’s volleyball tournament will have an ACC team in the finals.  The ACC’s Louisville and Pitt are only the two teams that have made it to the semifinals the last two years.  In fact, prior to these appearances only one ACC team, Florida State in 2011, was the only other ACC team to make the semifinals.  For the first time ever there are no Big Ten or Pac 12 teams in the Final Four.

Louisville is 30-2.  They lost to Ohio State at home 1-3 in addition to their 2-3 defeat at Pitt.  One win of note in the OOC is their defeat of San Diego 3-1 at home.  San Diego defeated Pitt 3-2 at a neutral site.  Both Pitt and Louisville were taken to 5 sets by Georgia Tech, Pitt at home and Louisville in Atlanta.  Louisville had to reverse sweep Georgia Tech in Atlanta to win as they got down 0-2.

Louisville was a #1 seed in the tournament and played at home all the way through the regional.  Louisville in the tournament swept their first three opponents: Samford, Purdue, and Baylor.  Against their last opponent, Oregon, they were taken to five sets.  Oregon had a chance to take them out in four sets with a match point at 24-23 but were unable to do it.  They eventually lost the set 25-27.  Louisville then blew them out in the fifth set 15-6.  Louisville’s coach believes that her team is better conditioned than most teams and that shows up in long matches.

The last time Pitt played Louisville they thoroughly throttled the Panthers in three sets at Louisville.  It solidified Louisville’s number 1 seed.  The score in each set were 15-25, 21-25, and 18-25.  Pitt did not look like ACC co-champions during the match.  It was this match that cost Pitt a number one seed in the tournament even though they were in the top 4 in RPI at the end of the season!

In this match the most dangerous Louisville player #14 OH 6’0” Jr. Anna DeBeer only played in the back row as they worked her back into the lineup.  This was due to a leg injury she suffered during the OOC part of the schedule in a match after the Ohio State loss.  DeBeer did not play in the loss to Pitt earlier in the season.  DeBeer is now playing on the front row as well as in the back row.  Julianna Dalton played in the match and had a subpar showing.  She was probably already playing with a nagging injury at this point in the season.  She would play out the rest of the regular season before being put on the sideline due to it.

While DeBeer does not show up in the overall season Louisville stats as a potent force, make no mistake she is the leader of this team even though #9 OH 6’0” Grad Student Claire Chaussee was the ACC player of the year.  Louisville runs a 5-1 offense with #22 6’0” graduate student Raquel Lazaro as their setter.

Louisville is not as tall as Pitt’s last opponent, Wisconsin but just as lethal.  Pitt’s smaller, more active lineup maybe an asset against them.  After the Louisville blowout, I wonder if Coach Fisher came to the same conclusion in deciding to go to the current lineup for the tournament.  Fisher may also regret using an injured Kayla Lund in last year’s tournament given that Nebraska keyed on her the entire match in our loss to them.  He may have had to tie Lund to a chair, though, to keep her out of the match.

Louisville’s points leaders are Chaussee with 4.09, #15 MB 6’2” Aiko Jones with 3.40, #25 MB 6’3” Sr. Amaya Tillman with 3.24, Debeer with 2.74, #3 OH 6’0” Rs-Jr Nena Mbonu, and #10 MB 6’4” Jr Phekran pk Kong.  Louisville’s block leaders are Tillman with 157, Jones with 100, Kong with 93 and Lazard, their setter, with 91.

So, what are the keys to Pitt reversing what happened in the past at UL’s house and making sure we win this rubber match with Louisville?

First we must eliminate errors both in hitting and serve receive.  We had 22 hitting errors in the 3-set match or over 7 per set.  A team is not going to win many sets with that many.  The second thing is serve receive errors.  Louisville had 8 aces or almost 3 per set.  This is the match where the libero jersey would be taken from Browske and given to Klika.  Between these two types of errors Pitt was giving up 10 points per set!

The second thing we need to do is serve well and keep Louisville out of system.  At the regionals Pitt served extremely well.  Even though DeBeer has a brace on her leg she is an excellent defensive player.  I do not expect Pitt to serve at her.  In the blowout loss, Pitt had one ace versus four errors.

The last things we need to do is block better.  This chore is going to fall on all our front-line players but especially our middles and Buzzerio.  Louisville is not extremely tall so it is just a matter of defending the net.  That is easier said than done.

The current lineup of the team being used in the tournament has shown a lot of grit.  Even if Julianna Dalton is almost 100% I hope Coach Fisher does not put her in the lineup as a starter.  It would destroy the current chemistry of the team.

This is going to be just as tough as a match as the Wisconsin one was.  Louisville really took it to Pitt the last time they met.  Pitt needs to put that match out of their minds and get in the same mindset as they had at Wisconsin!

Hail to Pitt!

Fight Pitt Fight!

May be an image of 1 person and standing

76 thoughts on “Pitt’s WVB Final Four Opponent: Louisville

  1. ​​ ​

    ​​​​​​View release ​online

    December 14, 2022​

    Pitt’s Calijah Kancey Earns Historic Unanimous All-America Status

    PITTSBURGH—The pantheon of all-time Pitt football greats grew larger today as defensive tackle Calijah Kancey earned the historic distinction of Unanimous All-American.

    Kancey officially received that elite stature when he was named a first team All-American by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA).

    The NCAA uses five All-America selectors to determine consensus and unanimous status: Associated Press, AFCA, Football Writers Association of America (FWAA), Sporting News and the Walter Camp Football Foundation.

    Kancey was a first-team selection on each of those five squads, making him the Panthers’ first Unanimous All-American since defensive tackle Aaron Donald in 2013.

    In 133 seasons of intercollegiate football, Pitt players have earned Unanimous All-America recognition 15 times. Thirteen total players have achieved this distinction; defensive end Hugh Green (1979-80) and offensive tackle Bill Fralic (1983-84) are the only two-time unanimous selections.

    “This is just an incredible honor,” Kancey said. “I want to thank all of the All-America voters who considered me worthy of this recognition. I am so grateful for my Pitt coaches and teammates as well as our support staff. They help make me better every single day, on and off the field. This is just as much their honor as it is mine. I’m so blessed to be able to call myself a Pitt Panther.”

    “I’ve run out of superlatives to describe how I feel about Calijah,” Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi said. “He is the best defensive tackle I’ve ever coached, period. He’s a first team All-American as player and, more importantly, as a person. These national honors didn’t happen by accident. He absolutely earned them all and we are so proud of him.”

    Kancey’s 2022 season is one of the most decorated in Pitt history.

    In addition to his All-America citations, he was named ACC Defensive Player of the Year and a finalist for the prestigious Outland Trophy (nation’s top interior lineman) and Bronko Nagurski Trophy (national defensive player of the year).

    College Football Network (CFN) named him the National Defensive Tackle of the Year.

    The 6-foot, 280-pound junior was one of college football’s most dominant players this year regardless of position. He compiled 31 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks in 11 games played.

    Despite facing an array of blocking schemes designed to slow him down, Kancey (Miami, Fla./Miami Northwestern) averaged 1.32 tackles for loss per game to rank 16th nationally and first among the nation’s interior defenders.

    He spearheaded a Pitt defense that leads the country in sacks (3.75 avg.), ranks seventh nationally against the run (95.5 avg.) and ranks 19th in fewest total yards allowed (319.7 avg.).

    Injury will prevent Kancey from playing in the Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl later this month. “I am going to do everything I can to help my teammates prepare and get that ninth win,” he said.


    Year: Name (Position)

    1927: Gilbert Welch (Back)

    1929: Joe Donchess (End)

    1932: Warren Heller (Back)

    1938: Marshall Goldberg (Back)

    1956: Joe Walton (End)

    1960: Mike Ditka (End)

    1976: Tony Dorsett (Running Back)

    1979: Hugh Green (Defensive End)

    1980: Hugh Green (Defensive End)

    1980: Mark May (Offensive Tackle)

    1983: Bill Fralic (Offensive Tackle)

    1984: Bill Fralic (Offensive Tackle)
    2003: Larry Fitzgerald (Wide Receiver)

    2013: Aaron Donald (Defensive Tackle)

    2022: Calijah Kancey (Defensive Tackle)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Reed, why must you respond to every article the doesn’t pertain to football with an immediate football comment? I think everyone knows you are the originator but this is sad.


  2. Wouldn’t it be great if Pitt can pick up the majority of WPIAL portal entries? Yes you can go home again! Hopefully Narduzzi also finds two receivers and a tight end to make a difference next year.

    Top priority is getting all those freshmen to sign next week, or what’s left of them.


  3. Best of luck to coach fisher and the ladies. Louisville will be a tough out. But with a win, it could set up a game in the finals against the horns. That would be a very nice Christmas gift indeed.

    And congrats to mens soccer and coach Jay for making the college cup in two of the last three years. Indiana has Pitts number. They play sound tactical defense. Something Pitt still needs to learn.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Once again an excellent piece on Pitt Volleyball. I have noticed that a number of football coaches have received extensions and raises on their existing contracts. Volleyball is not a revenue-producing sport so the priority to upgrade Coach Fisher’s contract might not exist.
    Our athletic department might have a buyout at the end of this season for Coach Capel and I suspect Mrs. Lyke will be searching for a new women’s basketball coach, softball coach and
    have to upgrade salaries for future assistant football coaches. Stay tuned in…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Valeria Vazquez Gomez was named to the Second Team All-American Team. Rachel Fairbanks was named to the Third Team All-American Team.

      Liked by 3 people

  5. We frequently comment about our various team coaches and their inability to recruit quality athletes…..Coach Fisher is truly in a class by himself. H2P!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I added some recruiting comments to the win over Wisconsin article for those interested in our incoming class and the following year’s group.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I do think the new facility will help with recruiting. Long overdue. But I don’t think Fitzgerald has hurt fisher. I think Pitt is now getting national notice due to Pitts success. That’s a credit to fisher. The talent will keep coming. Pitt will eventually win a Natty if not this year.

      Liked by 5 people

  6. Thanks for all of the recent updates about men’s soccer and volleyball. I will be watching. Like most on here, I know nothing about either sport but if we are good at something, then by gosh I will support it. Good luck ladies and H2P!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Good luck for the VB team but I’m having difficulty in believing that the Pitt team will be able to get that 3 game sweep at Louisville out of their heads going into this match up. If Coach Fisher can accomplish that he deserves whatever money he is getting with an added bonus.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Being embarassed like that serves as a great motivator. I do believe that Pitt was overconfident on that particular Sunday. The ‘ville had revenge on their mind, thus all the motivation. This rubber match tomorrow may turn out to be the best of the series.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. That game was actually played on a Friday night. I saw one of the guys associated with the team at the football game the next day and asked him what the heck happened to the team. He said they had an off night, and had practices that week that were ” up and down”. They’ve been playing well this tourney, so hopefully they’ll continue the good roll they are on.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I’m sure the sport psychologist talked to the team about that. I think our girls will be ready to avenge that beatdown by doing exactly what John indicated are the keys to victory. Good passing, tough serving, big blocks. Believing they can win. Go get ’em Lady Panthers!!

      Oh, and good article John!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Pitt Police Blotter for December to date:

    Thursday, December 1

    Pitt police issued two summons arrests for Amay Gupta and Sonel Jimenez for abuse of corpse.

    Friday, December 2

    Pitt police reported a small fire in a lab in Chevron Science Center. The fire was contained and extinguished.

    Saturday, December 3

    Campus security authorities reported a liquor law violation in Lothrop Hall. One student was issued a conduct referral.

    Pitt police reported a criminal mischief in Litchfield Tower A. Investigation pending.

    Sunday, December 4

    Pitt police issued a citation for buying, consuming alcohol while underage in Litchfield Tower B.

    Monday, December 5

    Pitt police reported theft of packages from the mailroom in Darragh Street Apartments. Investigation pending.

    Pitt police assisted City police with the theft of a backpack and laptop at 100 Block of Oakland Avenue.

    Pitt police reported the theft of an individual’s laundry in Lothrop Hall. Investigation pending.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. underage drinking with some fisticuffs occasionally mixed in was the main crime back in the day…streaking was the biggest offense-could you imagine tossing your clothes and going jogging naked through across the cathedral lawn and through the quad….who on here remembers when the entire PITT football team crawled out of a dorm room window and walked naked on the roof around the quad…not much running but a lot of shaking!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Underage drinking will destroy the university’s moral fabric. 🤠

    In my days we had to worry about being killed or jumped outside the O.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Paraphrasing Coach Fisher, we may not win, but we can win. While the sweep at Louisville may leave a bitter taste, the 5 set win at Pitt included two sets where Pitt was dominant. The bottom line is that either team CAN win, but neither has the advantage of home court and overwhelming crowd support. So, it may come down to confidence, emotion and which team is more “ON” that night. I think Pitt is on a roll right now. If we serve as well and dig as well as we did against Wisconsin, I like our chances. I’m not sure about the Dalton situation. I think we’re stronger with her, but only if she is healthy. Ennis has done a good job in Dalton’s place and, as John pointed out in his post, team chemistry seems to be very good with her in the lineup. We’ll have to trust Coach Fisher to make the right decision. In any case, Pitt’s return to the final four has been amazing and our recruiting success may make us a regular visitor to this exclusive gathering.
    Let’s go Pitt!

    Liked by 5 people

  11. Football REPARK! Did anyone else get a short letter from Pitt asking for money, offering double points getting ready for the Football REPARK??? What the heck is that and what does it mean.

    Are they going to move seats folks have had for years if someone has more points??? Only Pitt could send an ambiguous irritating letter like this to alums and season ticket holders !!


    1. Dan, lots are closing and everyone will be reassigned parking based on priority points.
      Plus, we still have to give a donation to Pitt over and above the parking fee…I think for Red5a last year the passes were $140 and the mandatory donation was $150. Nice huh?


    2. Save your money Coach Dan..you need it more than the university…PITT is loaded…some of the players are graduating with 2 degrees and they eat like kings and queens

      Liked by 2 people

  12. I’m actually as psyched as I was the eve of our National Championship in Football in 1976 -77.

    All we can ask is for the ladies to play without fear and play smart. The chips will fall where they may!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Dan, I remember thinking that we had “em all the way in 76 … but right now it feels like a big bundle of nerves.


  13. I seem to recall some football player hijinks in the 60s with Cindrich and his pals carting off some frat boy’ s mattress at a rush party. BigB or Dan, do you remember this?


    1. No but I remember 4 Pitt basketball players the year before Howland,
      visiting a home in Philly and stealing all the family’s jewelry. I think Evans may have been the coach.


    2. No but we (Phi Delts) would have been honored to have Cindrich steal a frat house mattress.. just don’t mess with our girlfriends!!!


  14. OT – Pitt women’s BB team signs some much needed height in 6’4” center Hannah Mills-Watson. She’s from Ontario and played on the Ontario U17 team.

    Is she any good? No idea – but you can’t teach height, as they say…

    Incoming class now includes 6-4 center, 6-1 forward, and 5-7 local point-guard. The question is will Coach White still be here…

    Go Pitt.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes if you practice common sense.

      Know the bad areas of any city. Don’t go into them at night. And don’t cross the border at night into Juárez or stray too far into Mexico during the day.

      Mexico is crime infested run by gangs with dirty cops accepting bribes. Think Chicago of the 1920’s. My Mexican friends who go back, if they go back, aren’t even safe when they visit family in their small rural towns or northern cities. They become targets.

      Stay in el Paso. People are friendly. Food is good particularly if you aren’t used to that type. You can get some good margaritas. You can buy beer and wine at any grocery or convenience store. Gun stores are plentiful.

      It will be cold and windy. But sunny. Very deceptive. Air is clean. High mountain desert. Mountain time zone.

      Good place to visit but not a place that you’ll likely return.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. from the ESPN article 2 quotes stand out to me:

    while I didn’t love her commentary during the game – Coppedge: Pitt and Louisville have set the new standard for the ACC. The ACC is definitely coming for the Big Ten and will only get better after recruits see how these two teams have played in the postseason.


    Hoffman: I think the national championship will come down to who’s the better team, not who has the better players. Texas has an all-star lineup that is all-in on winning a title, but this team has yet to face a defensive-minded team at the net. Louisville (331 total blocks), San Diego (311) and Pitt (296) all rank above Texas, which has just 229 on the season.

    What is your championship prediction? nobody picks Pitt

    Let’s GOOOOO!!!!!!!


    1. actually THIS is what I meant to post by Coppedge:

      Shelby Coppedge: Originally, I truly thought there was no way that Wisconsin didn’t make it past their regional. When I saw how Pitt played, though, the Panthers fully earned it.

      Liked by 3 people

  16. Well Pitt probably isn’t a fav given their recent play against Louisville. Was it an aberration? Which Pitt team will show? The one that beat the cardinals earlier in the year or the one that lost in three straight?

    The acc is coming close to rivaling the big ten as the best volleyball conference. That will help with recruiting making fishers job even easier. He credits playing a tougher schedule as helping the team get to this moment. And I’m sure that also helps with recruiting on the road and at tournaments. If you want to be the best, you play the best.

    Unfortunately, in football it’s backwards given how teams get selected for the playoffs and only a limited number of non conference games. No early or mid season tournaments. One loss and your playoff chances could be ruined.

    Just different scheduling philosophies given the sport and system.

    I always thought Dixon should have scheduled a tougher non con schedule. He’d often be 14-0 heading into big east play and ranked.


    1. interested to know why you thought Dixon should have scheduled tougher

      in the end, what difference would it have likely produced?

      I didn’t mind the weak OOC in basketball, Dixon made tournaments regularly, he had Pitt at #1 enough for me, they played team ball, tough and max effort games

      I don’t think it’s as possible/easy(it’s never easy) to do that today


      with football, despite others needing to see high end OOC for them to be motivated to attend, I’ve only gone to 1-2 games a year, with one year a 3 game outlier that included that weak OOC opponent WMU 😦

      in football you should start the season with a win and should have another weak OOC preferably halfway or further along in the season and either right before your toughest opponent or right after your game where you suffer the most injuries – kidding as we know scheduling that is impossible

      the other 2 OOC should include one very tough opponent and/or a rival game and one other at least very good i.e. power 5 opponent


      but who cares about either of those sports anyway at least today AND hopefully Saturday


      Liked by 2 people

      1. I think it would have better prepared him for tournament play. His teams always seemed to underachieve come the big dance. Now some thinking might have been the big east is tough enough. Schedule patsies and get as high a rank as possible heading into big east. Big east tourney would help prepare the team. But the big east style was physical. He needed to play schools with great guards and shooters. Against athletes. Pitt I think couldn’t adjust properly come the dance since they were so used to certain dance partners and a certain dance.


        1. I’d say I agree that the Big East was preparation enough and the minimal increment a tough early OOC would provide is, well, minimal

          I’d say if there were ever a best 2 of 3 to win the NC, Jamie wins one or two

          basketball is tough in a one and done format and upsets far more possible and likely

          for the non-blue bloods it’s amazingly hard

          Maryland getting there 2 years in a row and winning the 2nd was frankly one of those amazing and rare times and with how Gary Williams operated was part of what gave me great hope for Pitt and Dixon for the following decade or so after the Terps won in 2002


    2. Dixon did that on purpose so he could tell recruits that they always get to 20 wins. But the RPI always hurt them into March seedings. I recall Pitt always being mentioned during Selection Sunday. Of course they were usually selected….


  17. OT — Came across this item about Dabo, hadn’t seen this when it happened…

    “Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney’s 10-year, $115 million contract announced Thursday extends him through the 2031 season while keeping a higher employee buyout in place if he ever leaves the school to coach the Crimson Tide.”

    I know Dabo (despite having no prior head-coaching experience) has been highly successful, but these salaries, including what the Duzz makes, just seem ridiculous to me…

    With these salaries, why not just have the coaches fund NIL deals.

    Go Pitt.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I agree John, but some schools make mega $$ on football. Clemson sells out every game in a stadium that seats 81,500 rabid fans. In addition, the University participates on a royalty basis on branded items carrying the school’s logo and name. You can VERY SAFELY assume that Clemson merchandise is a very popular item (I have seen Clemson-branded clothing in York, Pa.). If you want to obtain Pitt items you really have to live close to the 412. Yes, I know about the internet, but the sales of Pitt paraphernalia are minimal compared to the PSU’s, NDU’s Michigans’s, etc etc. Dick’s is a Pittsburgh area Company and if you go into Dick’s in York…Nothing Pitt related (O.K. maybe a few hoodies, but really nothing).
    …………..and last but NOT LEAST, the alumni contributions to Clemson athletics are probably 3 or 4x (maybe more) than the sum raised by our University. So, the BIG BOYS can and do sprend more and when realignment comes in the not-too-distant future the disparity will place Pitt w a a y below Clemson. Sad but unfortunately true. Dabo is a money meal ticket for The Tigers.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Clemson Football’s annual PROFIT is around $7 to $8 million. Profit, not revenue. Expenses, including salaries run about $56 million. Revenues around $64 million. That’s a helluva business, right?

      For all sports at Clemson, donor contributions is now about 50% of revenue. In previous years it was much less but so was the budget.

      H2P!!! TGFV

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Clemson has the money. Not as much as they’d like but far more than Pitt.

    Here’s the rub with Pitt. Clemson pays good money for assistants. Dabos salary is no more than five times as much as his coordinators.

    Pitt pays staff poorly. Narduzzi hogs most of the money in the coaching budget. Clemson makes sure to spread the money around since they know it’s a team coaching effort.

    That’s why Pitt gets washed up retreads on the cheap as coordinators and assistants.

    And narduzzi probably likes it this way since there’s no competition for his job and the spotlight is all on him.


    1. so not buying the “we, not me” Duzz is selling?

      fortunately he tricked Pickett and a few others

      JA and then Slowvis are way too smart


    2. I dread the day we lose Charlie Partridge. I’m surprised a school hasn’t poached him away already.


  20. Wow – HC Matt Campbell just lost his mind over a targeting call on one of his DLineman.

    “F” bombs and “BS’s” flying for about 5 minutes. How does he not get flagged and/or ejected.

    WOW! During a meaningless bowl game too.


    1. Just realized Mike Leach is coaching Wash St verse Iowa State.

      Tribute game on ESPN – for Matt Campbell, it’s on tape and still a BAD look.

      Go Duzz!


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