Volleyball knocked out of Big East Tournament

The women’s volleyball team made a quick exit out of the Big East tournament, losing 3-0 to the No. 1-seeded St. John’s Red Storm on Friday.

Despite being a major underdog heading into their quarterfinal match-up, the Bulls showed fire and resiliency in defeat.

For seniors Johari Williams, Ashley Rivas and Juliana Noqueira, Friday’s loss was their last match in their career at USF. Williams had a team-high 10 kills and five block assists.

USF coach Claire Lessinger realized the hill her team had to climb to pull the upset, but was happy with the effort she saw. The Bulls scrapped and clawed the entire match and held their own against a St. John’s team who went undefeated in the Big East.

“I was real proud of our team and they really showed me something,” Lessinger said. “I have to credit our three seniors for keeping the vision and being great leaders because they wanted this. They played with such passion this season.”

In the first game, USF had four different opportunities to steal the game away from St. John’s, but just couldn’t get the last point. The strong play at the net kept USF in the first game until the Red Storm took over to win, 31-29.

The Bulls weren’t able to bounce back quickly in the second game, which was a major reason for the 30-15 score. The net play was much better in the third game and the Bulls kept the game close, but just didn’t have enough.

Lessinger is excited about next season from this postseason experience along with eight of 11 players returning next season. With the largest early signing class in program history, the Bulls are already looking forward to 2007.

“I’m already thinking about next season and talking about it,” Lessinger said. “I’m always looking at the next day, next week and next month and getting ready for the spring. That’s what I love about this job is being in the gym and working to get better.”