Volleyball enters the eye of the storm

The USF volleyball team will end its season where it began: on the road. The Bulls head south for their final game this year to take on the Miami Hurricanes tonight. USF (9-19) hopes to end the season on a good note after losing the first-round match to Saint Louis 3-2 in the Conference USA tournament Nov. 19.

“I think it would be great for the players and our staff to end on a high note. The loss to (Saint Louis) was a heartbreaker,” coach Claire Lessinger said.

This marks the second consecutive year the Bulls lost in the first round in a five-game match. USF made an early exit in last year’s C-USA tournament when the team dropped its match-up with Houston in the first round.

With the loss, the Bulls will leave a conference that they succeeded in many seasons. USF won four C-USA titles in ten seasons, including back-to-back titles in the ’95 and ’96 seasons.

Miami (16-9) lost in the ACC Championships to Maryland in its first season participating in the ACC. Miami’s exodus to the Big East left the door open for the Bulls to make the switch.

“The Big East is going to be challenging and exciting for us,” Lessinger said. “We’re going to be in battles every weekend. (Conference USA) has come a long way, but the Big East is one of the nation’s premier conferences.”

Lessinger rounds out her first season as head coach after navigating her young team to nine wins, two better than last year’s squad that was laden with seniors. The Bulls will return their entire lineup next season and look to build their home court strength after posting a 7-4 record in the Corral this season.

“We sat down as a team one day one with expectations and goals. As a staff and a team, we wanted to improve and make headway,” Lessinger said. “Our team and our staff have grown tremendously.”