Bulls capture UCF Invitational title

By Banel Paulinis
On September 12, 2011

After a disappointing showing last week, the USF volleyball team was able to take its intensity to a different level and complete an unbeaten weekend at the UCF Invitational. The Bulls beat both FAU and UNC-Greensboro by a score of 3-0 before beating UCF by a score of 3-1.

After earning its first win of the season last week against Bethune-Cookman, the Bulls' (4-5) volleyball team appeared to be hungry for more wins.

The Bulls were led by freshman Valerie El Houssine with 13 kills, while Shelbie Dailey led the stat sheet with 26 assists. Janice Rivera contributed 13 digs for the Bulls.

The victory came with a superior defensive show. The Bulls established their largest margin of victory in a single game this season by holding FAU to under 20 points in all three sets, winning 3-0 (25-11, 25-13, 25-18).

Using the same game plan, USF was able to continue its dominance in its first match Sunday, earning a sweep over UNC-Greensboro (4-7) by a score of 3-0 (31-29, 25-20, 25-16).

El Houssine extended a streak of her own by leading the Bulls in kills with 17 and earned Most Valuable Player honors for the tournament.

"I am so proud of her and her much-improved consistency," coach Claire Lessinger said. "She had a breakout weekend. She played well from an offensive and defensive standpoint."

With the Bulls picking up a rhythm, slowing down was not an option as they shut down a high-powered UCF (8-2) team to finish the tournament, winning 3-1 (11-25, 26-24, 27-25, 25-21).

"It was all about finding our rhythm," Lessinger said. "We were put in the same situations as last week but this time we were focused and came out on the other side."

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