V-ball opens at Pepperdine

The 2002 season kicks off this weekend when South Florida volleyball travels to Malibu, Calif., for the Howdy’s Pepperdine Classic.

Tonight, USF will face Michigan at 7, and Saturday the Bulls will not only face the biggest challenge of the weekend but also possibly the biggest challenge of the season when they play No. 8 host Pepperdine.

“I think it’s awesome to start out with some good teams because it pushes us to play at a higher level as opposed to starting out with a weaker schedule,” senior setter Alessandra Domingos said.

Facing teams such as Michigan, Pepperdine and Clemson is a start that will give Conference USA preseason No. 3 USF a good perspective on where they are as a team and where they need to go this season.

“We have a tough weekend (coming up) playing Pepperdine,” coach Nancy Mueller said. “We have a really strong schedule so we can get ready for conference.”

The Bulls boast two preseason all-conference players in Domingos and Michelle Collier. Collier, an outside hitter with 1,991 career kills, was also voted preseason player of the year.

Collier said the Bulls are capable of defeating Pepperdine.

“I was watching Minnesota and Stanford, and Minnesota just upset Pepperdine the day before that,” Collier said. “In volleyball with the rally score and the fact that the playing is very level, everybody has a chance every given day, whoever steps up.”