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Wisconsin volleyball’s repeat bid ends in five-set loss to Pitt

(Photo by Graham Stokes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

It took five sets, and overcoming a loud arena, but Pittsburgh volleyball is moving on to the National Semifinals.

The Panthers beat the No. 2 team in the country Wisconsin on Saturday in front of a rowdy Wisconsin crowd of over 7,200 people. After taking a 2-1 lead, Pitt found themselves in a fifth set after the defending national champions battled back.

They led 5-1 and 11-6 in the fifth set before the Badgers took a 13-12 lead. From there, the Panthers took over. They won the fifth set 15-13.

“I don’t know how much I can tell you about the Xs and Os. We just found a way,” Pitt coach Dan Fisher said. “I’m very proud of this team.”

With the defeat, Pitt ensured that for the first time since 2002 no Big Ten team will feature in the NCAA semifinals. Wisconsin had been one of two teams left after Nebraska and Penn State lost in the regional semifinals.

Ohio State had also advanced to the Regional Final, but lost to Texas in four sets.

“All credit to Pitt,” said Wisconsin coach Kelly Sheffield. “The effort that they gave tonight in that arena, with that awesome crowd. That’s a tough thing that they were able to do. That was one of the things we talked about is, somebody’s going to beat us, they were going to have to beat us, because our team, there’s no quit.”

Pitt will next play Louisville, who advanced with a win over Oregon.