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Volleyball team tries new approach

The USF volleyball coaching staff are getting very hands-on with their players.

First-year head coach Claire Lessinger takes an energetic approach to coaching by participating in live game drills to prepare her team for the upcoming opponent.

“We scout every team and try to mimic what they will bring to the court.” Lessinger said. “It gives our girls an opportunity to prepare for what each team will bring to the court.”

USF (3-11, 1-3 C-USA) is looking to improve. Lessinger has said her team has been tentative at times when trying to finish games. The live drills implemented are geared toward helping the team in intense game situations.

The Bulls have been in many close games this season in which the Bulls ended up losing.

“What we’re looking for is who is going to step up and respond in crunch time,” Lessinger said. “In a few games we have folded during crunch time.”

The practice drills focused on many game situations such as playing from behind, playing with a lead and finishing off teams when they have the chance.

“We have to raise our desire to win,” said USF’s leading defensive player Ashley Reavis, who leads the Bulls in digs with 3.02 per game. “We haven’t come through in the clutch. We need to finish. Every point matters.”

USF is preparing for a five-match home stand this weekend where it will play three Conference USA teams. This is the longest home stretch in the Corral this season as they prepare for Friday’s match against Marquette.

Coming off two tough losses on the road last weekend, the Bulls know they have to respond to keep pace in C-USA.

Against the top two teams in C-USA, Louisville and Cincinnati, USF was kept off balance, allowing the opposing offenses to out-gain them in kills by a 102-71 margin.

This weekend USF will face a challenge against a talented opposition in Marquette.

The Golden Eagles bring senior leadership to the floor with their veteran setter Sarah Vernon. Vernon was recently named C-USA Setter of the Week for the second time this season and averages nearly 12 assists a game.

“They have a real dynamic setter; she distributes the ball and is very deceptive. She is very tough to read and she will challenge us,” Lessinger said.

This weekend is parents’ weekend for the volleyball team. USF is a very diverse group that only has three players from Florida on its roster. Parents will be traveling in from Colorado, Brazil and Canada to cheer on the Bulls. Following the match against Marquette, USF takes on DePaul Saturday.