The Bulls hosted their annual USF Classic tournament this weekend and won two of three matches.
USF ended its weekend against Charlotte, losing 3-2, and will head into the week with a record of 10-2.
“Overall it’s been a great preseason, 10-2 is a great record for our nonconference schedule and I think there’s certainly things we need to continue to get better at,” Coach Courtney Draper said. “I just think we didn’t give the effort that we could have today and Charlotte was more deserving of the win.”
The Bulls took an early lead after winning the first set, scoring 25-12, even while having some inexperienced players get playing time.
“When you beat a team at 25-12, and sub in kids that don’t usually play to get them some experience, it does something to kids mentally I think,” Draper said. “They really got too comfortable in sets 2 and 3, and I really thought that we fought back we’ll in sets 4 and 5.”
But Charlotte was quick to answer back by winning the next two sets, 25-17 for both. Put on its heels, USF was forced to step up if it wished to stay in the game. The team was able to rally back to win the 4th set and tie the match.
Charlotte, however, took the win with a score of 15-12 in the 5th set.
“We beat the other two teams in 3 sets a piece, but Charlotte served aggressively,” Draper said. “We got the ball to the middle as much as we could but we’d like for Jaeden to have more than 20 swings on the night.”
Earlier in the tournament, the Bulls took on the University of New Orleans and University of North Dakota in a double header on Friday.
USF was able to continue its win streak at the start of the classic, winning 3-0 in both matches.
“We played sharp yesterday” Draper said. “Our outsides were amazing.”
Draper praised a few players who made big impacts on the team and are a key factor to their 10-2 record.
“Briana Stowell, she keeps it all together. She has done a great job in a lot of our success,” Draper said. “Our freshman libero CC [Clausen], we are tough on her and demanding, but 25 digs in a 5 setter is something some of the best liberos in the conference aren’t even doing.”
Going forward, Draper feels that her players have the ability to compete on a much higher level.
“Bottom line is we need to be a little more consistent,” Draper said. “When we are firing on all cylinders and they all come to play the way they can, I think we are going to be a really dangerous team.”
The Bulls are looking to carry their momentum as they enter conference play Friday at The Corral against UCF at 7 p.m.