For the fifth time in the eight-year history of the Conference USA Tournament, the USF volleyball team will appear in the championship game.
A familiar foe will be waiting for them.
The No. 2-seeded Bulls booked their spot in the tourney title match after a 3-1 victory vs. third-seeded Cincinnati in the semifinals Sunday afternoon at the DePaul Athletic Center in Chicago. But they must now face No. 1 seed Louisville, who snatched the top spot from USF in their final regular-season matchup Nov. 16 by winning 3-1.
The match is scheduled to air live on FOX Sports Net Florida at 8 p.m. local time.
Louisville earned the right to play for the title by easily defeating Saint Louis, the No. 4 seed, 3-0 (30-20, 30-22, 30-24) on Sunday, while the Bulls dispatched the Bearcats 30-25, 27-30, 33-31, 30-19.
The Bulls racked up six-point leads on two different occasions in the first game before the Bearcats closed within one at 19-18. But eight kills by senior Michelle Collier helped carry USF to victory. The Bulls held the Bearcats to a .063 hitting percentage in the game, while hitting .212.
The teams battled to 11 ties in the second game, with USF creating the final tie at 27, but the Bearcats closed out the game with a 3-0 run to finalize the score at 30-27.
It was USF’s turn to play catch-up in the third game. The Bulls got in a five-point hole on five different occasions throughout the earlier part of the game, but used a 4-0 run to tie the game at 17. However, the Bearcats went on a seven-point run and went up 26-19.
From that point, the Bulls outscored the Bearcats 14 to five for a 33-31 victory.
In the third game, the Bulls prevailed despite racking up five service errors. USF led by as many as 10 in the game, 23-13, before winning 30-19, with a .571 hitting percentage in the game.