Women sweep in Pittsburgh, men fall to Virginia Tech
Brenna Moxley | Monday, November 7, 2016
Notre Dame brought home a sweep on the women’s side and a split for the men after facing ACC rival squads Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, over the weekend.
The women topped Virginia Tech, 190-163, and widened the point margin by beating Pittsburgh, 244-109. The men had an similarly dominant win against Pittsburgh with a score of 238-115, but fell to Virginia Tech, 203-150.
The men had a strong first day against Virginia Tech, but the Hokies came out strong on Saturday to claim the win. Irish head coach Mike Litzinger said he was proud of the men’s effort and performance nonetheless.
“The whole point of our schedule is to escalate the level of competition every week during the fall,” he said. “Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech are definitely two teams that we knew were going to be difficult to beat. Our guys did a great job the first night and the second day, we got a little behind and kept trying to make up some ground but couldn’t quite finish it off. It’s a learning experience and our guys tried hard; we had a ton of season-best times at this competition. We are in great shape and I am proud of our guys’ efforts, but there are always things to work on and we found a few of those this weekend.”
The men earned second and third in the 50-freestyle, with junior Justin Plaschka clocking in at 20.42 and sophomore Tabahn Afrik at 20.51. The team also came in second and third in the 200-medley, with junior Robby Whitacre (22.86), senior Trent Jackson (25.64), Plaschka (21.19) and Afrik (19.74) securing second, and the group of freshman Jack Montesi (23.38), freshman Rex Riley (25.61), sophomore Matthew Grauslys (21.60) and senior Reed Fujan (20.43) finishing third. Senior Joe Coumos collected fourth in the 3-meter diving event with a score of 328.10.
The Irish women had a weekend full of accomplishments, including placing first and second in the 50-freestyle. Freshman Katie Smith tapped in at 22.98, with fellow freshman Abbie Dolan not far behind at 23.43. The squad also snagged first and second place in the 200-medley. The first-place team was comprised of senior Catherine Mulquin (25.88), sophomore Meaghan O’Donnell (28.54), sophomore Sofia Revilak (24.43) and Smith (22.68). Freshman Claire Andrews finished third in 1-meter diving with a score of 157.
Litzinger emphasized the improvements the team has made in the past year, especially with the women proving themselves this weekend.
“A year ago, we lost to both of these teams; we were just kind of watching Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech go at each other,” Litzinger said.“Here we are a year later and the tables have turned, which is due to a couple of things: our athletes have been working really hard, we have an influx of new bodies who are doing a great job and, third, our women, as well as our men, are very focused on the goal. The goal is to compete as a team and remember that everybody matters. This weekend was, without question, the toughest meet our women have swam up to this date.”
The Irish will attend the Greensboro Invitational for three all-day events at Greensboro Aquatic Center from Nov. 17 – 19.
“It’s going to be one of the fastest meets in the country,” Litzinger said. “Teams that are assembled there – N.C. State, University of Tennessee, Duke – are all in the top 20, if not the top 15 or 10. You’re going to see some really fast swimming this November.
“Our goal is simply to swim faster than we have and perform better on the diving board than we have all year long. If we accomplish that, we are going to be in really good shape.”