Pittsburgh Panthers Volleyball Shine on and Off the Court With a Program Record of Academic Honorees

Published 01/31/2024, 9:45 PM EST

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The 2023 NCAA volleyball has remained kind to the Pittsburgh Women’s Vollеyball Tеam, who emerged in the final four. Though Nebraska Huskers bested the Panthers in the semi-finals to 3-0, they had much to celebrate prior. A 29-5 overall on the board, the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) sweep, and of course, the 4th consecutive entry into Sweet 16. However, more was to come for the Volleyball team.

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Pitt Volleyball has trodden well through seasons, having 19 NCAA championship appearances. Now, while that and more have proven the program’s firm stance, their recent record for All-ACC Academic moves to present that the Panthers have more to them, even off the grounds.

A win off the grounds for Pitt Volleyball

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The All-ACC Academic Team presentation honors athletes who excel not just on the field but also academically. A 3.0 grade point average for the previous semester combined with an athlete’s performance in the most recent season pushes one to be named in the All-ACC Academic team. With all the right numbers on board, Pitt Volleyball saw 13 of its athletes receive the honors, attaining a program record. “Studs,” the team wrote on X, celebrating the 13 triumphant names on the board.

Soaring through the crowd, however, Rachel Fairbanks hit the pinnacle of being named the 2023 ACC Co-Scholar Athlete of the Year. The Junior setter and the finance major holds a 3.77 GPA while boosting a career-high 933 assists, 190 digs, and 59 kills. With that, Fairbanks led Pitt Volleyball into its third consecutive year of receiving the honor following Serena Gray for 2021 and 2022.

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While Fairbanks may have led the team, each on the list held a presence of their own. 7 out of 13 athletes made the list for a second time while for Lexis Akeo it was career 4th. Through academics and the NCAA, the Panthers recorded the second-highest number on the ACC circuit falling only to Boston. Following along the celebrations, Pitt Volleyball aims to keep up the momentum with an addition to the team.

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Panthers to adorn the newest member

The women’s Pitt Volleyball announced this past week that Bianca Garibaldi was the newest name in the 2024 recruiting class, with the blessings of the head coach and the team. Garibaldi is known for holding previous experience with the Argentinian Youth National Team and numerous competitions, as a Villa Carlos Paz native. The player could not hide her excitement at joining the program.

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“I chose Pitt because of the amazing volleyball program that will help me become the best version of myself. I also really like the city and the people!” Garibaldi said in a statement. The youngster will soon start her training alongside the Panthers in the coming spring.

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Written by:

Shivatmika Manvi

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Edited by:

BHUJAYA RAY CHOWDHURY

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