South Florida’s 30-18, 30-14, 30-24 win against Northeastern wasn’t the only reason for celebration in The Corral Thursday night.
Michelle Collier, a senior outside hitter for the Bulls, had 15 kills on the night to become Conference USA’s all-time leader with 2,057 career kills, passing the old mark of 2, 051.
“I think its wonderful to have someone from USF (in the record books), because most people are like, ‘Who’s USF?'” sophomore middle blocker Shameka Mitchell said. “So she’s putting USF on the map. It’s good to have someone on our team who has a record.”
Collier wasn’t even aware of how close she was to the record until teammate Alessandra Domingos mentioned she was only 10 kills away.
“I don’t really pay attention to stuff like that,” Collier said. “Everybody was doing a great job, so that’s why I got my kills. The setters were setting good, and the middles were running back.”
The Bulls (2-2) got off to a strong start, winning the first game with 17 kills and 17 digs.
USF rebounded from the Howdy’s Pepperdine Classic in which they had a hitting percentage of .173 in their last match against Clemson to improve to .319.
“This was one of our goals (tonight), to hit about .250,” Collier said. “We really worked on keeping the ball in play if it’s not a good set or trying to get our best shot at it. We really worked on first-ball kills.”
Serving was another aspect of their game that the Bulls worked on this week during practice, and it showed throughout the game. USF connected 14 serves for aces in the three sets.
“We served very aggressively,” coach Nancy Mueller said. “We actually have been working on serving all week, doing a lot of serving drills. One of the things I stressed all week was keep the ball in play and give us another opportunity to play defense.”
The Bulls’ defense was strong with 43 digs, including nine from Maryann Mooney.
Winning three straight sets in about an hour and a half will help the Bulls as they enter the second annual Best Western Invitational.
“We’re pretty well conditioned,” Mitchell said. “Our coaches prepared us very well, so we’re prepared for anything that comes our way.”
USF will play three games over the next two days, starting with Stetson at 7:30 p.m tonight.
“I think it will help us with our fatigue,” Mueller said. “It’s nice to get in and out of here in three games. I think a lot of it has to do with adrenaline and being at home.”
Mueller was able to rest players and get a lot of people in the game. One player who was not seen, and won’t play the rest of the season, is Faith Tarver.
Tarver had back surgery during the summer and is just starting rehabilitation after being in a back brace for six weeks. She had three herniated disks in her back.
Bryan Fazio covers volleyball and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org