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Bulls lose close match to Eagles

The USF volleyball team had its two-game winning streak snapped Wednesday by losing a close 3-2 match to the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles.

The Eagles gave the Bulls one of their most exciting matches of the season. Each game was decided by five points or less.

?The Bulls came out firing in the first game, led by Marcela Gurgel, who had a team-high 20 kills. The match was very competitive with neither team taking a dominant lead. The Bulls eventually took the lead with a Gurgel ace that made it 26-25, but the Eagles came back to win the game 30-28.

“Marcela has a ton of heart and passion for this game,” said head coach Claire Lessinger. “She really came out tonight and gave the team everything she had to try to come up with a win.”

The second game started off in Florida Gulf Coast’s favor with a 5-1 run. The Bulls re-established momentum, however, and countered with an 8-1 run that allowed them to take control and eventually win 30-26.

The third game was more of the same – each team fighting for momentum. A slew of arguable calls by the referees halted play and left a bad taste in USF’s mouth. The calls led to the Bulls’ loss of focus, and eventually, their backs against the wall with a 2-1 deficit.

“We got calls in our direction too,” said Lessinger. “Coaches will always argue against calls that don’t go our way. Refereeing isn’t an easy job, and we can’t point fingers at them. It was our fault we didn’t come up with the win tonight.”

The final two games kept the fans in their seats, not knowing who would pull out with the win. In the fifth and final match the Eagles prevailed 15-13 to send the Bulls their sixth loss on the season.

Eagle Brooke Youngquist led the team with 23 kills and had a team-high 25 digs.

For the third match in a row, Gurgel posted a double-double with 20 kills and 19 digs. She wasn’t alone, as senior Kristina Fabris also posted 16 kills and 16 digs.

Defensively, Stephanie Augustavo led the game with 28 digs while Alli Arbogast led both teams with 10 blocks.