Conference cleanup

South Florida volleyball was left with a bittersweet taste in its mouth after it was crowned the Conference USA co-champions, losing only in C-USA play to Louisville.

The Bulls got a shot of sweetener Friday when they picked up the most notable postseason awards at the C-USA banquet.

Nancy Mueller was named coach of the year and Michelle Collier was named the player of the year.

USF finished 26-6 overall with a 12-1 conference record, proving to its peers that it was worthy of more than the No. 3 position it was given in the preseason.

“It was very unexpected,” Mueller said. “It is great to be honored by your peers. You win awards by the people you surround yourself with, and I surround myself with a great crew.”

In her four years at the helm of the Bulls, Mueller has a 90-39 record leading them to their third consecutive 20-win year, as well as USF’s second regular season championship in three years.

The Bulls won the regular season C-USA title in 2000, the same season Mueller won her first coach of the year award. Mueller joined the team in 1999 after an serving as an assistant for the University of Houston from 1995-99.

In Collier’s fifth and final season with the Bulls, she picked up her second player of the year award.

“Michelle is a very special young woman,” Mueller said. “She achieved things not many players are going to achieve. This by far has been her best season.”

Collier received the honor in the 2000 season joining Erica Berggren who won in 1995 and ’96 as the only Bulls to win the award twice.

As C-USA’s all-time career leader in kills with 2,560 in 453 games, Collier led the conference this season with 5.51 per game.

Collier, also a member of the all-conference first team, won the award after being named the preseason player of the year. Also on the first team is C-USA’s setter of the year senior Ale Domingos.

Domingos won her second consecutive setter of the year award with 13.7 assists per game.

Also representing USF is junior Bonnye Glover who led the Bulls in total blocks, solo blocks, block assists and blocks per game.

Glover has 97 total blocks with 16 solo and 81 block assists for one a game.

Corinne Walsh is the lone freshman to represent the Bulls on the all-freshman team.

Walsh, a six-foot middle blocker out of Evergreen Park High School in Illinois, played in 25 of the Bulls 32 matches, tallying a .332 hitting percentage with 46 total blocks.

“She came right out of high school and was thrown into this situation,” Mueller said. “We put her in a position that may not have been most comfortable for her. She is deserving of the award.”

The Bulls will put its award-laden squad on the floor Saturday at 2 p.m. against the winner of the TCU-Houston match being played Friday in the Conference USA Tournament at DePaul.