When St. Louis scored the final point in Game 5 of the match on Friday, the USF volleyball team wrapped up their conference season with a close loss in the first round of the Conference USA tournament.
The Bulls (9-19) were defeated by the Billikens two weeks to the day after USF dismantled the same St. Louis team at the Corral. Despite strong performances from all players, USF couldn’t duplicate its dominating performance.
“I think it was a perfect reflection of our season in general,” USF coach Claire Lessinger said. “The girls left it on the floor and played a very good team and we just came up short. I was really pleased with the progress and maturity of our players from day one to tonight and it’s something we can really build off of. We return everybody, and that’s pretty neat.”
From the start, it looked like USF would cruise, taking Game 1 easily 30-24 behind a defense that forced St. Louis into eight errors.
The roles were reversed in Game 2 as St. Louis forced the Bulls into 10 errors en route to a 30-26 win to tie the match 1-1. The two squads went point for point in Game 3, with USF mustering just enough firepower to win the game 30-28. With the Bulls leading 29-28, junior Flavia Silveira iced the game with a kill.
The Bulls came out flat in Game 4, unable to take advantage of their match lead. St. Louis won the game 30-24 again due to a strong defense that held USF to a .087 hitting percentage.
The Bulls had a chance to win Game 5, jumping out to an early 5-2 advantage. St. Louis responded with a 5-1 run of its own to take the lead 7-6. The score was eventually tied at 14.
The Billikens notched two straight aces to seal the match and send USF home early. Four Bulls scored double-digit kills in the match.
C-USA Freshman of the Year Kristina Fabris led USF with 19 kills. Fabris also assisted on six of the 11 blocks.