Volleyball team still trying to get that first

The USF volleyball team remained winless after losing all three of its matches this past weekend at the Best Western Invitational. The Bulls, who hosted the tournament at the Corral, dropped to a record of 0-6 and are still seeking their first victory of the 2005 season.

“We need to learn to feed off each other at crucial moments in the game,” freshman setter Kate Verhoff said.

The Bulls faced Florida Atlantic University (9-0) on Friday and were swept in three games by the Owls 30-24, 31-29, 30-15.

USF fought hard in the first game with five lead changes, but ultimately came up short. In the second game, the Bulls battled but still ended up three points shy of a win. The Owls dominated the third game to win the match.

Sophomore Kristina Fabris, the 2004 Conference USA Freshman of the Year, led all USF scorers with 17 kills and 19.5 points.

On Friday night, the Bulls went head to head with the Appalachian State Mountaineers (5-3) and again lost in three straight games 30-15, 30-24, 30-21.

Although the Bulls dropped their second straight match of the day, coach Claire Lessinger was encouraged by her team’s performance in the night game.

“I actually thought they showed a lot of fire and a lot of fight,” Lessinger said. “They came back and made some good improvements tonight. And that’s really what were looking for, improving from match to match right now.”

Appalachian State came out strong in the first game and the Bulls couldn’t keep pace, losing 30-15. USF quickly took the lead in the second game, but the Moutaineers stormed back and won 30-24. The Bulls were shot down in the third game 30-21.

Fabris again led the way with 13 kills and 16 points against the Moutaineers. Sophomore Michelle Staulbaum also had a good game with nine kills and nine points, and Verhoff had 33 sets.

“I think there are good parts and there are bad parts,” Fabris said. “We have to work on our consistency and then we’ll be very good.”

The Bulls played against a very physical Eastern Washington (7-3) team on Saturday, losing their third match 30-27, 30-19, 30-19.

Fabris scored a team-high 18 kills and 19.5 points in the match and was also named to the all-tournament team in the Best Western Invitational.

“We have such a young team, we’re all going to start to gel sooner or later,” Verhoff said. “The wins will come soon.”