What can the USF volleyball team find positive about dropping two more Big East conference matches this weekend? Not much, other than the fact that there are only three matches left before the season finally comes to an end.
The Bulls (3-20, 1-12 Big East) haven’t won since defeating Jacksonville on Oct. 16, and the team’s only Big East victory came against Georgetown on Oct.15.
The Bulls hosted their old Conference USA rival and Big East opponent Cincinnati (17-8, 8-3 Big East) on Friday night and lost in three straight games to the Bearcats, 30-16, 30-19, 30-15.Sophomore Kristina Fabris led the way both offensively and defensively for USF, recording her 10th career double-double with 10 kills and 13 digs on the night.
“I was pleased with Kristina’s defensive night,” coach Claire Lessinger said in a press release. “She had 13 kills, and it was ‘Dig for Cure.’ That is something we came in really motivated about, and 41 digs for a team is still raising a good amount of money. That’s what this night really was really focused on, so it can go to a good cause.”
For every dig USF recorded, money was donated to the H. Lee Moffit Cancer Center and Research Institute.
On Sunday, the Bulls faced off against No. 7 Louisville (23-1, 11-1 Big East) at The Corral and were defeated in four games, 30-20, 24-30, 30-23, 30-14.
The Bulls and Cardinals fought each other tooth and nail in the first game, with USF taking an 8-6 lead at one point. Louisville then went on a 9-2 run and never looked back, winning 30-20. There were many lead changes early, but the Bulls went on a 7-2 run and refused to yield to Louisville, winning the match 30-24.
It was the first game USF has won all year against a ranked opponent.
The Cardinals reversed their plight in Game 3 with a steady offensive attack. The Bulls tried to catch up but came up short, losing 30-23.
USF never had a chance in Game 4 as the Cardinals took an early lead they would not relinquish, winning the game and the match, 30-14.
The Cardinals were led by Lena Ustymekno, who posted 23 kills and 12 digs.
The Bulls were offensively charged by Fabris, who had 11 kills and 12 digs, and sophomore outside hitter Michelle Stalbaum, who had 17 kills.
Although the Bulls lost their 20th game of the season, Lessinger recognized what was really important to the team at this point in the season.
“I was really pleased with our players’ performance today,” Lessinger said in a press release. “We read a quote in the locker room before the match that said, ‘It’s not the size of the dog in a fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.’ I felt that was what today was really about – going out there and having confidence in what we do on our side of the net and not being scared and having fear what this team is capable of doing.”