It’s official. The frustration is over.
A determined USF volleyball team recorded its first win of the season over in-state rivals UCF Friday night at The Corral.
The Bulls (1-7) charged out of the gate and proceeded to beat the Golden Knights (2-5) in four games, 30-19, 33-35, 30-19, 30-23.
The victory was exactly what the team needed.
“It feels amazing,” junior Ashley Reavis said. “It just felt like everything came together out there, and we played together as a team, and we won as a team. It just feels great.”USF came out swinging in the first game. The Bulls pulled ahead early with a 9-2 advantage and never looked back, winning 30-19. UCF seemed a bit intimidated, while the home team appeared to be composed and very confident.
“We had a few key players who were on the money tonight, just playing out of their minds,” senior Kelsi Andrew-Wasylik said. “We were all ready for this. It’s about time.”
In the second game, USF again jumped ahead of the Knights. UCF then fought back, battling hard with USF in a bout that saw seven lead changes, 12 tie scores and ended with the Knights eking out a win 33-35.
The Bulls took control of Game 3 by applying constant pressure to UCF’s defense. Outside hitter
Michelle Stalbaum’s serving routinely caught the Knights off guard as sophomore Kristin Fabris continuously put away kills.
In the final game of the evening, the Bulls dominated the game from top to bottom. USF capitalized on every mistake the Knights made and were sure to minimize their own errors that had been so prevalent in the past seven games. USF won Game 4 30-23.
The Bulls know exactly what made the difference in the match.
“We stuck to our game plan,” Andrew-Wasylik said. “In Game 2, we didn’t; we lost. Games 3 and 4 we got back on it, did what the coaches wanted us to do – what we’ve been practicing – and it worked.”
Fabris had another standout game, leading all USF scorers with 22 kills and 29 points. Reavis had an outstanding game with 11 kills, and Stalbaum was also a key player with 15 points.
Coach Claire Lessinger hopes her team can continue where they left off.
“I know the monkey is off our backs; that’s the first step,” Lessinger said. “Now we know what we’re capable of, and we know we got the talent to go out there (and) put a really good match together.
“They have to be consistent now. We’ve got to do it back-to-back nights.”