Getting their wind back

Worn out and tired, the Bulls withered in a five-set loss to Tulane on Saturday. Now, the USF volleyball team faces Miami today, playing three matches in less than a week for the first time since Sept. 26. USF (8-12) jumped out to a two-set advantage against the Green Wave on Saturday, only to drop three straight sets.

“We had all day (Sunday) off,” USF coach Nancy Mueller said. “I think we recovered fairly quickly. They’re young. They’re college kids. They should be able to recover faster than someone who is in their late-20s or early-30s.”

Mueller scheduled the mid-conference match against the Hurricanes in order to give the Bulls good competition against as many in-state schools as she could.

The Hurricanes (15-4) return most of their team from their NCAA Tournament run in 2002 and are currently riding an eight-match winning streak.

“We try to play all the in-state teams that we possibly can,” Mueller said. “Miami is a very good team that went to the Sweet 16 last year.”

The Bulls defense will also have a challenge when they face 2002 Big East all-freshman member Jennifer Vance and 2002 Big East player of the year Valerie Tipiana.

“They have a great right side player, (Vance), and they’ve been playing together for two years,” Mueller said. “They are a very seasoned team that is getting stronger and stronger.

“It will be a good quality match for us at this point in the season.”

After opening conference play with a pair of road victories, the Bulls slumped at home, suffering defeats at the Corral on Friday and Saturday during parent’s weekend. USF held a two-game lead on the Green Wave (17-2) Saturday, but let the Conference USA leaders off the hook by dropping three straight games.

“I think that our preseason helped us prepare for these kinds of matches,” Mueller said. “Before, we were playing three matches in two days. Three matches in five days won’t really affect us.”

The Bulls are led by junior Shameka Mitchell, tops on the team tallying 4.62 kills per game and 775 total attacks. She was one of the Bulls who suffered fatigue at the end of the Tulane match.

Mitchell’s sets will not change against the Hurricanes.

“Shameka is Shameka,” Mueller said. “She is going to get her number of sets in a match, nothing is going to change.”

After four C-USA matches the Bulls outlook against Miami will not differ from the previous matches, and they will focus on what will improve their 8-12 ledger.

“We don’t look at it very differently,” Mueller said. “We look at every match in the same regard.

“At this point in the season, we need to look at USF, and how we need to execute.”