The USF volleyball team needed just one victory this weekend – at Louisville on Saturday or at Cincinnati on Sunday – to clinch a berth in the Big East tournament. The Bulls lost both matches, but got into the tournament with Villanova’s loss to St. John’s.
USF backed its way into its first Big East tournament with consecutive 3-0 losses to Big East foes Louisville and Cincinnati. The Bulls were dominated against the Cardinals and fell apart against the Bearcats.
USF captured the eighth seed in the Big East tournament and will face the No. 1-seeded Red Storm on Friday at 12:30 p.m. in Cincinnati.
“Obviously we are pleased to be in the Big East tournament,” coach Claire Lessinger said. “It was big for us to get some early victories in the Big East, especially the win over Villanova that turned out to help us in the end.”
Redshirt freshman Marcela Gurgel was the only player for the Bulls to record a double-double in the loss with 11 kills and 10 digs. Kristina Fabris added 10 kills and Johari Williams had eight.
In the first game against the Bearcats, USF went back and forth with six lead changes and battled back to 21-20 late in the match. Cincinnati closed out the game with a 5-2 run to take a 30-24 victory.
The Bulls fell apart in the second and third games, committing multiple errors on both sides of the floor.
Against Louisville, the Bulls were outmatched at the net and could muster little offense during the match. The Cardinals used their size advantage at the net and collected 43 digs compared to USF’s 22.
“Those are two powerful programs in the Big East,” Lessinger said. “I think we played well in the first game in both matches, but I was disappointed in our play in Games 2 and 3.”