After dropping its first two matches of the weekend against Colorado State and host Kansas State at the Kansas State Wildcat Classic, the USF volleyball team looked to rebound in its final game of the tournament against LSU.
The woes of losing its first two matches must have provided enough motivation for the Bulls as the team bounced back to win the final game 27-30, 30-25, 30-23, 30-26.
What helped USF even its season record at 5-5 was a better overall performance than the previous two games, especially on defense.
“We made some changes to our defense this week and our team executed them well,” USF coach Nancy Mueller said. “This was one of our best blocking matches all year, which allowed us to play better defense around our block.”
The Bulls’ defense tallied 12 total team blocks and 14 block assists against the Tigers, with senior Bonnye Glover leading the way with four blocks.
The Bulls’ defense didn’t stop at the net. Fran Pozzi and Shameka Mitchell had 15 and 11 digs, respectively.
But the Bulls also got a better performance offensively, led by senior setter Melayne Wootan.
Wootan had a match-high 54 assists against LSU, while adding 19 kills, including the game winner in a 30-25 victory in game two, ending a seven-game losing streak in the tournament.
“I think that LSU was a team very similar to us,” Mueller said in a press release. “We started out very slow offensively and were able to pick it up–every single game we got better.
“Melayne did a good job distributing the ball, which allowed us to execute our offense better.”
Glover also stepped up with 15 kills, becoming one of five Bulls with double-digit kills.
Mitchell tied Wootan for the team lead with 19, while senior Pozzi had 12 and freshman Johari Williams added 10.
In the Bulls’ first match against KSU, a 15-30, 15-30, 21-30 loss, the team tallied nine blocks and only eight block assists along with 38 digs.
Also, the Bulls couldn’t get their offense started, hitting just four percent for the match.
Mitchell was the only player for the Bulls to tally double figures in kills, recording 13.
In the second game of the tournament, USF only managed seven blocks, 12 block assists and 29 digs in a 20-30, 24-30, 30-32 loss to CSU.
The offense also fluttered in the Bulls’ second match, as no players reached double figures in kills.
The Bulls couldn’t get the passing they wanted as Wootan recorded just 29 assists in the loss.