USF volleyball took to the floor Tuesday night looking for a win against Florida A&M, but after losing Kelsi Andrew-Wasylik to an injury, the Bulls instead suffered two losses.
Sophomore setter Andrew-Wasylik was sidelined after colliding with a teammate while FAMU led 20-14 in the first game. USF coach Nancy Mueller would not comment on the nature or severity of Andrew-Wasylik’s injury.
The loss of Andrew-Wasylik, one of the Bulls’ best defensive players — who plays the key position of libero, forced the Bulls into making temporary changes.
The defeat also denied USF coach Nancy Mueller her 100th win, but the coach was more concerned with the Bulls’ performance.
“The injury to Kelsi kind of freaked us out and threw us for a loop,” USF coach Nancy Mueller said. “Some players had to play some positions they weren’t used to playing, and it made it a little uncomfortable. It definitely affected our ball control because she is one of our best defensive players. It was especially apparent in game two, but there were a lot of areas we could have done better in and we have some things to work on.”
As Andrew-Wasylik is the libero, USF was able to substitute her without it counting against its set number of substitutions. And the Bulls struggled to recover from the setback, eventually losing 30-23, 30-15, 30-25.
Game two was the most lopsided of the match. USF took a 2-1 lead in game one but did not lead again until it held a 16-15 advantage in game three. Senior setter Melayne Wootan accumulated 24 of the Bulls’ 30 assists. Junior middle blocker Shameka Mitchell and senior outside hitter Fran Pozzi led the team in digs; they had 12 and 13 respectively.
“(Andrew-Wasylik’s injury) was part of the problem, but we committed a lot of mental errors,” Mitchell said. “The players need to step up more out on the floor. I wasn’t happy with my performance tonight; I wasn’t happy with the team’s. We have a lot to work on in practice.”
Like Mitchell, the rest of the team was not ready to attribute the loss to the injury of its libero. The players instead cited several fundamental mistakes and a lack of leadership on the floor.
“In practice we are going to work on defense and putting the ball away. First-ball kills are something we need to improve on,” senior middle blocker Bonnye Glover said. “Kelsi’s injury definitely threw us for a loop, because she is integral to the team’s success, but at the same time we have all practiced at every position and we are all more than well prepared in case somebody goes down. So (the loss) had a lot more to do with our mentality, and that is something we are going to work on before our next game.”
But Glover knows Andrew-Wasylik’s injury could hamper the team.
“We are going to miss her, no doubt about (it),” she said. “I hope she has a speedy recovery and can get back on the floor soon.”
With the loss, the Bulls dropped to 5-6 and saw a perfect 15-0 record against FAMU suffer its first blemish.