USF (8-3) at Long Island (7-9)When: Tonight 5Where: Wellness CenterTV/Radio: None

The volleyball team hopes to return to the win column when it travels northeast this weekend to face Long Island and Big East rival Rutgers.

The Bulls began conference play last weekend on a grim note by falling to both Louisville and Cincinnati, leaving their record at 8-3 for the season so far.

On Friday, the Bulls will travel to Brooklyn to take on Long Island. The Blackbirds (7-9) are coming off a tournament victory in the LIU Volleyball Classic last weekend. Their record may be under .500 on the year, but on their home court – the Wellness Center – they are an undefeated 3-0.

One Blackbird that USF may need to watch closely is middle-blocker Shelby Heggie. The senior was the second Blackbird to be named Northeastern Conference Player of the Week this season for her performance in the tournament. She was also named MVP of the tournament.

The Bulls will have another chance to pick up their first Big East win Sunday when they face Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights hold a similar 0-2 record in the Big East and have struggled to a 2-9 record. They were most recently swept by Marquette.

In 11 total games so far this season, Rutgers has won only six matches and has been swept in every loss.

The Bulls are 2-1 on the road and hope to use their defensive prowess to better that record. USF is holding opponents to a .128 hitting percentage on the season.

Kristina Fabris and Marcela Gurgel have led the team on offense as the only two players who have averaged more than 2.0 kills per game. Sophomore Alli Arbogast has averaged 1.76 blocks per game this season – one the highest averages in the Big East.