Coach focuses on fundamentals

The USF volleyball team had only a short amount of practice time before its match against FIU today, but coach Claire Lessinger used the little time she had to work on fundamentals hindering her team throughout the season.

“We did some good things with our serve-receive drills,” Lessinger said. “It’s important to focus on our game and what we have to do offensively to get the win.”

USF hosts its third consecutive home match and first non-conference match of the season at the Corral at 4 p.m..

USF has had multiple games canceled this year against non-conference opponents due to hurricanes.

The Bulls’ only conference foe this week is C-USA’s UAB, which is 1-15 on the season and 0-6 in conference play.

USF (4-12 overall, 2-4 C-USA) takes on two interstate rivals this week when they face FIU and FAMU.

The Golden Panthers are not having their best season, posting a current mark of 2-15.

USF isn’t taking FIU lightly after the Bulls lost many matches with opportunities to win late.

The Bulls took East Carolina to five games and have been on the brink of finishing off opponents.

Twice this season, FIU has taken teams into overtime only to lose.

FIU recently snapped a 10-match losing streak when they beat North Texas on Oct. 16. They had gone over a month without a win.

This season, USF will play all six Florida schools. After FAMU, the Bulls take on their final interstate opponent in perennial powerhouse Florida State on Nov. 2.

“The teams in Florida are very experienced,” Lessinger said. “It really helps our team because you don’t get a lot of travel fatigue and you get to play some great teams. It’s a learning experience.”

She knows that in order to keep up a high level of play she’ll need her players to step up.

Lessinger has gotten consistent high intensity play all season from sophomore Johari Williams.

A fixture in the offense last season, Williams has grown into a double-threat on offense and defense.

“Johari has turned up her game this season,” Lessinger said. “The way she plays is very contagious to our younger players.”

Williams continued her solid play over the weekend, picking up 22 kills and 28 digs. She has been especially valuable on the offensive end, picking up double digit kills in six of the last eight matches.