Volleyball drops two over weekend

When the weekend began, USF’s volleyball team thought it could compete with the best teams in the Big East. But the Bulls didn’t get the results they wanted.

USF (15-10, 5-5) lost two matches this weekend, including a five-set match to the Cincinnati Bearcats (21-5, 8-2) on Friday night.

After losing the first set, the Bulls came back to win the next two sets before losing the fourth. In the fifth set, the Bulls led 14-11 but were unable to convert on three match points, ending their chances for an upset.

“It’s a shame that we let this one get away,” USF coach Claire Lessinger said. “We couldn’t have been in a better situation, and we had Cincinnati on the ropes. It’s a shame we couldn’t close them out.”

Junior outside hitter Marcela Gurgel led the Bulls with 15 kills and seven digs.  Sophomore right-side hitter Allie Boaz had nine kills in the match.

Both said that despite the losses, they were proud of how their team responded to every challenge thrown their way.

“Last week in practice we worked really hard to be able to compete with a team like Cincinnati,” Gurgel said. “We weren’t able to close this match out, but I’m proud of how our team played.”

Boaz said the Bulls play hard, regardless of the score.

“We’re fighters,” she said. “We can be down by big margins, but we always play with such urgency. We all believe in each other, and as long as we work hard, we believe we can come back from any deficit.”

Sunday, the Bulls fell in straight sets to the Louisville Cardinals (12-10, 8-3), making it the first straight-set loss of the season for the Bulls.

Despite the losses, Lessinger said she believes her team got better this weekend.

“We bounced back when we fell apart,” Lessinger said. “We showed a lot of heart and pride this weekend. We are disappointed with the losses but we got better this weekend. We never quit and this will help us going forward throughout the remainder of the season.”