USF climbs Big East ladder

USF made short work of two Big East foes this weekend, and USF Senior Big East Preseason Player of the Year Marcela Gurgel had a lot to do with that.

Gurgel tallied 30 kills in six sets and the Bulls (13-6, 6-3) claimed straight sets victories at home over Georgetown (11-14, 1-8) and St. John’s (8-15, 1-6).

“This is really good for us. It gives us a lot of momentum,” Gurgel said. “We just played really good teams and beat them. This was really good preparation for us moving forward.”

Gurgel attacked at a .448 percentage against the Hoyas on Saturday, committing only one error en route to 14 kills. She continued her good form against the Red Storm, claiming a match-high 16 kills Sunday.

Coach Claire Lessinger said the Bulls have been working on their offensive efficiency. The Bulls attacked at .326 on Saturday and .391 on Sunday, a strong showing in an area that had been a weakness.

“I’d like to think that practice makes perfect, so we’re working on this a lot in practice,” she said.

The USF defense, meanwhile, continued its dominance. The Bulls entered the weekend second in Big East play in opponents hitting percentage.

Georgetown managed a .184 percentage as the Bulls tallied 10 blocks, and St. John’s was held to .104 against USF’s 11 blocks. Four Bulls contributed more than five digs.

USF climbs to fifth in the conference standings, with the top eight qualifying for the Big East Tournament next month in Louisville.

“We know to achieve our goals we have to have a strong offense and we have to use our offensive weapons,” Lessinger said. “We realized that it has at times this year been a weakness of ours when it easily could be a strength.”