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Volleyball: Roller coaster ride ends

If you don’t get off the roller coaster, sooner or later you’ll get sick.

Looking to put together a consistent performance before the Conference USA Tournament, the Bulls overmatched an undersized Central Florida squad, 30-12, 30-21, 30-27 Tuesday.

“We’ve gotten over the roller coaster we do in matches and we maintained,” 6-foot-2 middle blocker Bonnye Glover said.

The Golden Knights (15-4) started a Game 1 lineup with no player taller than six feet, and the Bulls (13-7, 6-3 in C-USA) took advantage of the size differential. Glover had six kills and struck for a .417 attack percentage.

After facing teams such as Arizona, which featured four players 6-foot-2 or taller, Glover relished the opportunity to be the tallest player on the court.

“That was great,” Glover said. “(I) definitely enjoyed that.”Consistency was something the Bulls had been searching for, and they desperately wanted a breakout game before the end of the season and the conference tournament.

“We’ve had some great matches and some poor matches,” junior Michelle Collier said. “We’re ready to get this going … We’ve been up and down.

“I thought we needed one (great) game … and this was it. This was our best match of the year.”

USF coach Nancy Mueller reiterated Collier’s emphasis on consistency.

“That was one of our goals – to be more consistent,” Mueller said. “That was something we were really looking for tonight, being able to sustain a high level of intensity, regardless of what the score was.

“We struggle from 15-25,” Mueller said. “That’s where our problems are. We did much better in that range tonight. We tend to relax when we’re in the lead. We got better at that tonight.”

Collier was the main cog of the USF attack again, totaling 20 kills in the match. Eight of the 20 came in the first game, when Collier attacked for a .583 percentage and USF’s lone senior, Kelly Mathiasmeier, had four kills on six attempts with zero errors. Not only was the offense stellar in Game 1, the defense allowed UCF just six kills and forced six Golden Knight errors. The Bulls had three aces and three blocks in the first set.

“We talked about it and we were like, ‘we can’t let down,'” Collier said. “They were playing a little slower, so we had to set the tempo – our tempo.”

Glover wasn’t the only Bull to get off to a great beginning – the Bulls may have played their best game of the season in the opening set. Striking at a .600 clip with just two errors, USF held UCF to 12 points, the second lowest total the Bulls have allowed all season. Florida Atlantic had 9 points in the second game of a Bulls’ victory Sept. 4.

“I always think we can play better,” Mueller said. “We were right on (tonight), but I expect more.”

  • Anthony Gagliano covers volleyball and can be reached at