The USF volleyball team swept three straight games from the Florida Atlantic Owls to win its 2001 home opener. The 30-26, 30-9, 30-28 victory moved the Bulls’ all-time record versus FAU to 10-0 and evened the squad?s mark on the year at 2-2.
USF stumbled out of the gates as FAU?s Lindsay Overton recorded three straight aces to give the Owls a 6-2 lead in the first game. Kills from Jolene Patton and Michelle Collier, plus three FAU serving errors tied the game at seven.
Mistakes on serve would prove to be Florida Atlantic?s Achilles heel in the first set as they committed seven errors en route to the Bulls? 30-26 victory.
The Bulls? attack overwhelmed the Owls coming out of the starting blocks for Game 2. The offense jelled around setter Alessandra Domingos as the Bulls took a 7-2 lead behind five kills from Collier. Domingos, who provided 43 assists, missed the first game and a half this season due to a pulled hamstring.
?Ale is a very fiery player,? USF coach Nancy Mueller said.
?She brings a lot of confidence and energy to the team. Plus, Ale is a much more experienced setter than Kelly (Mathiasmeier), who hasn?t really set for us in two years.?
With Domingos addition to the USF lineup, Mathiasmeier has shifted to right side hitter, where the left-handed senior tallied 18 kills on 29 attempts versus FAU for a .448 attack percentage.
?If Ale has to dig a ball from the back row, then Kelly can push the ball up for us,? freshman Rachel Jobes said.
Fueled by a run that included three kills from Jobes, a pair of which were set up by great touch passes from Domingos, the Bulls extended their second-game lead to 14-5.
?Actually, for me Rachel?s the hardest one to set,? Domingos said. ?But, we stayed after practice to set a few balls, and I think that was really key for us.?
Jobes racked up seven kills with a .667 attack percentage against the Owls, while splitting time at middle blocker with Bonnye Glover and Kristen Richardson.
?Ale and Rachel jel real well when Ale sets the ball behind her,? Mueller said.
?Rachel?s so quick that we need to work on her arm swing. That?s why she struggles, when she (Ale) is behind Rachel, Ale has to set for tempo. But when you?re in front of her, you have to see her and set her.?
The Bulls closed out the second game on a 16-4 run, claiming the set 30-9. The Owls used an ace from Danyielle Smith to take a 3-1 lead to open the third game. One of Collier?s 21 kills tied the score at 15, then she blocked an Owls? spike to give USF its first lead of the third game 16-15.
Overton?s fifth ace gave FAU a one-point advantage at 17-16, but that didn?t last long as the Bulls reclaimed the lead with a Jenny Scholle kill.
Scholle hit .353 on 7 of 17 attempts with just one error.
?Jenny did a good job, she was really holding her own,? Mueller said. ?Jolene made a couple of key errors, so we kept Jenny out there to get her some good quality reps.?
The Owls held strong and briefly took a 23-22 lead, but a pair of Mathiasmeier kills closed out the game (30-28) and the match for the Bulls.
?I believe that we should have played all three sets the way we played the second one,? Mueller said.
?That?s what I expect and that?s what they expect me to expect of them. When we tend to play well one game, we get a little lax before the next game. That?s something we need to work on.?
Anthony Gagliano covers volleyball and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org