Volleyball earns first conference road win, falls in second match

Coach Claire Lessinger’s message all season has been that USF should beat the teams they should beat and compete with the good teams. However, the volleyball team fell short of its coach’s expectations over the weekend.

The Bulls (7-10, 3-2) took care of West Virginia 3-1 (30-23, 30-22, 29-31, 30-21) on Saturday in an easy win. However, USF fell in a 3-0 (30-19, 30-27, 30-20) matchup against Big East contender Pittsburgh (15-6, 4-2) on Sunday.

Despite the disappointing loss to Pittsburgh, the Bulls did pick up their first Big East road victory against West Virginia (1-19, 0-5).

“It’s big to win on the road because it’s tough to win on someone else’s home floor,” Lessinger said. “It was a challenge for us, and even though I wasn’t too happy with the performance of the team in the match, I’m happy that we got the win.”

Junior Kristina Fabris led the charge against the Mountaineers with 20 kills and 10 digs, with Marcela Gurgel adding 15 kills and 21 digs. Johari Williams surpassed the 1,000-point mark in her career with 21.5 points in the match to give her 1,011.

Though the Bulls won against the Mountaineers, Lessinger felt the team could have been more productive.

“We didn’t play well against West Virginia,” Lessinger said. “We had an opportunity to get better as a team against West Virginia, and we didn’t.”

Fabris reached the 1,000-point milestone against the Panthers, and senior setter Juliana Noqueria took sole possession of eighth place in USF record books with 1,503 assists after recording 11 in the loss to Pittsburgh. However, both had little to celebrate after the loss. The Bulls struggled the entire match to get any momentum going offensively while Pittsburgh was hitting on all cylinders.

Lessinger believed her squad had a great opportunity to shock Pittsburgh on its home floor with a solid effort. USF, however, had little energy and couldn’t string together consecutive scoring opportunities for most of the match.

“I thought the Pittsburgh game was an upset game for us,” Lessinger said. “But we are still searching for that missing link on this team to help us compete with the good teams.”