When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Where: Sun Dome Corral
It’s been nearly two weeks and 20 days since the USF volleyball team played a match in front of its home fans, but that hasn’t slowed down the Bulls.
Coming off two win in its opening conference weekend, USF (9-3, 2-0) will host Connecticut (8-9, 1-1) at 7 p.m. Friday and St. John’s (8-10, 1-1) at 1 p.m. Sunday.
“We’re notorious for being a good home team. That’s based on our loyal fan support, and our team really thrives off this environment,” said USF coach Claire Lessinger. “We’re really hoping to get the students out here. The students are huge. They’re what get it rowdy and hostile, and that’s an environment we thrive in.”
The Bulls have played five straight road matches. They picked up wins over Rutgers and Seton Hall on Saturday and Sunday.
USF lost to Connecticut and St. John’s in straight sets last season. However, the Bulls’ senior-laden squad has put those matches in the past.
“We haven’t really talked about what happened last year. We understand that it’s just another Big East opponent and every win counts,” Lessinger said.
Statistically, the Bulls rank among the best in the conference. USF is third in hitting percentage at .242, and the Bulls’ defense is allowing the lowest hitting percentage in the conference, stifling their opponents to only .161. The Bulls are also second in the conference in total blocks.
However, Lessinger said the Big East conference is so competitive this year that the Bulls can’t take anything for granted.
“We saw on the road this past weekend that every Big East team is going after every other team,” she said. “Every conference match is a highlighted match because that’s how competitive this conference is going to be. We have to be at the top of our game and hopefully we can (use) the home court to our advantage.”
– Mike Manganello