USF faces two C-USA road games

The USF volleyball team hits the road this weekend to meet two Conference USA opponents.

USF (8-13, 2-2) will open the weekend Friday night at Saint Louis University. The Billikens (7-13, 0-3) are last in C-USA and enter in the midst of a three-match losing streak. The Bulls, also losers of three straight, dropped two conference matches last weekend and lost to Miami on Tuesday night.

After the 3-0 loss to Miami, and blowing a 29-27 lead in the first game, Coach Nancy Mueller said the team needs to learn to spread the ball around to all of its hitters. Junior Shameka Mitchell is facing double blocks almost every game, and Mueller said the rest of the team’s hitters need to be able to kill on the one-on-one attempts.

Mitchell, second in C-USA in kills, leads the team with 821 total attacks, 146 more than the team’s second-most prolific attacker, Fran Pozzi. Mitchell had 46 attacks against Miami, while freshmen outside hitters Nicolette Barron and Johari Williams managed just 11 each.

To solve this problem, Mueller said after the loss, setter Melayne Wootan needs to pass the ball to more of her teammates. Wootan said after Tuesday’s loss that Mitchell and Pozzi’s experience had caused her to rely more on them.

Saturday the team travels to the University of Memphis to face the Tigers (19-2, 2-1), tied for third in C-USA. Memphis is undefeated at home this year, winning all four of its matches in Memphis. But USF is 2-0 on the road in conference matches with wins at Charlotte and East Carolina on Oct. 3 and 4.

A good performance this weekend is critical in order for the team to retain its C-USA championship. The Bulls sit in a four-way tie for fourth in the conference, but only two games out of first.

The team was unable to be reached for comment before leaving for St. Louis, but senior Bonnie Glover did say after Tuesday’s game that changes to the team’s lineup would not come as a surprise.