Volleyball team comes together far away

It’s a good thing the USF volleyball team likes to travel. Since their home tournament was cancelled, the Bulls are faced with the longest stretch of road games in more than decade.

The Bulls will have played nine consecutive road games over a span of two months before their Oct. 1 home opener.

First-year head coach Claire Lessinger has not had the opportunity to play a home game this season but remains positive about the situation.

“Being away makes you come together, you develop trust and a sense of urgency,” Lessinger said. “When we played (UT-Chattanooga) we had some close games and the girls found that sense of urgency to pull off the win.”

Coming together will help the Bulls, who have no seniors on the roster. Half of the team is made up of freshmen.

“We definitely appreciate the experience it has helped us gain,” Lessinger said. “We have a lot of young players and playing in hostile environments has helped us grow.”

Traveling around the country to face opponents hasn’t seemed to faze any of the USF players. They welcome the challenge.

“We’ll play anywhere,” said sophomore defensive specialist Ashley Reavis. “We play hard everywhere. We’re a tight bunch and we’ve got all the support we need.”

Freshman middle blocker Kristina Fabris added, “When Charley hit, we all were together for the whole thing. Ever since we’ve been around each other we’ve looked out for one another. We go to dinner together, we hang out together. We get along 24/7.”

USF travels to Bowling Green, Ky. this weekend for the Western Kentucky Tournament.

This marks the third consecutive away game for the Bulls after the USF Invitational was scrapped due to Hurricane Frances. USF was supposed to host UT-Chattanooga on Friday, but instead was forced to travel to Chattanooga to face the Mocs.

Leading the way for the Bulls is junior outside hitter Flavia Silveira, who has amassed 26 kills over the past two games this season.

Friday, USF faces a Southeast Missouri State team that is looking for its first win of the season. Saturday, USF squares off against two teams that are both coming off tournament championships. Illinois State won the Barker GMC classic. Western Kentucky won the Holiday Inn Marquette Challenge. Western Kentucky and Illinois State have a combined season record of 7-1.