University of South Florida’s volleyball team moved to the top of Conference USA with a victory Saturday night against visiting Saint Louis.
The Bulls (19-4, 6-0 in C-USA) defeated the Billikens (14-7, 4-1) 30-25, 27-30, 30-24, 30-24 to extend their winning streak to nine games.
“I think we’re playing with some confidence, but I think we could be playing with more,” Bulls coach Nancy Mueller said. “It feels good to be at the top (of the conference), but we’re really not even thinking about it. We’re just going game to game, match to match, point to point.”
Although USF was victorious, the Bulls struggled throughout the match with finishing on their attacks, compiling just a .189 team hitting percentage.
“Our total team hitting percentage I’m not real happy about,” Mueller said. “But this (Saint Louis) is probably one of the best defensive teams we’ve played so far. We were hitting it as hard as we could and they were digging it up like it was nothing.”
USF was down 12-17 in the first game before winning eight consecutive points to go up 20-17. The Bulls then held on to win the first game.
After dropping the second game, the third was highlighted by some very long rallies that proved to be the determinant of the Bulls’ victory.
With USF down 23-24 in the third game, the teams exchanged shots until Saint Louis’ Colleen Hunter, who had a game-high 27 kills, sent her attack long to help the Bulls tie the game at 24. USF then scored the next six points to win the game.
Mueller said the exchange of shots late in the third game shifted the momentum to the Bulls’ favor.
“I think it gave us a little fire under our butts to keep us going,” Mueller said. “To be able to win a long rally like that gives you the momentum. To lose the rally is very disheartening.”
Senior Michelle Collier, who finished with 19 kills and 19 digs, led the Bulls.
Junior Bonnye Glover also earned praise from Mueller for her career-high eight block assists and two solo blocks.
“Bonnye Glover did a really good job and played really consistently for us,” Mueller said.
The Bulls defeated Memphis 30-19, 30-28, 30-28 in a Conference USA match Friday at The Corral. USF travels to Miami tonight to face the Hurricanes at 7.
Adam Adkins can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org