Volleyball splits weekend, clings to tournament hopes

The volleyball team played its final home Big East Conference matches much like their season-up and down.

After defeating DePaul (5-22, 0-11) on Friday, the team struggled mightily against Notre Dame (15-10, 9-3) on Sunday and fell 3-0.

The Fighting Irish never trailed in any of the three games and prevented the Bulls (12-13, 7-5) gaining momentum throughout the match.

“Everything we tried to do whether it was serving tough or softly tip to an area they recovered,” coach Claire Lessinger said. “Any time we got them scrambling they got right back into their system. Their consistency killed us today.”

Along with tough play from Notre Dame, the Bulls didn’t help their cause by committing 24 errors throughout the three matches.

“We weren’t very disciplined blocking on our side,” middle blocker Kristina Fabris said. “I don’t really think (Notre Dame) killed us it was more of our errors that killed us.”

Fabris led the Bulls with 10 kills and 11.5 points on the day.

Notre Dame handed the Bulls their fifth conference loss of the season. USF is now in a battle with Connecticut, Syracuse and Villanova for the final two spots to qualify for the Big East Tournament.

“Making the Big East Tournament is definitely on our minds,” middle blocker Johari Williams said. “The ultimate goal is to make the tournament but we need to play better to get there.”

With the loss the Bulls are now in a must win situation as they travel to Cincinnati and Louisville next weekend.

“I feel like we’ve done what we need to do to qualify but we still haven’t clinched yet,” Lessinger said. “Now we’re sitting at home and hoping someone else loses, I wish we controlled our destiny.”

The Bulls were in position to have control of their post season after defeating DePaul on Friday.

In the first game USF broke a tie game by scoring seven straight points as outside hitter Marcela Gurgel recorded two service aces and helped force the Blue Demons into committing four errors during the rally.

After falling in the second game the Bulls bounced back in the third game when USF rallied again, this time scoring nine points in a row, proving to be the difference in the game.

USF closed out DePaul in the fourth game by scoring the last six points of the match including three kills by Fabris and a service ace by Gurgel.