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Six-game win streak snapped on senior day

Emotion doesn’t always equate to wins.

There was plenty of emotion during the pre-match ceremony, where USF honored six seniors, but the Cincinnati Bearcats (20-9, 10-2) swept the Bulls 3-0 on Sunday to snap USF’s season-high six-match winning streak.

Five of the seniors recognized – Alli Arbogast, Jarka Havlickova, Brittany Castelamare, Pamela Luiz and Marcela Gurgel – saw significant time on the court.

Senior Mollie Echols played in the third set as libero for the Bulls.

“I’m very proud of (the seniors) as a group. I really am,” said USF coach Claire Lessinger. “They are going to be missed tremendously by this program, by the coaches and by the players that are going to be left behind. They would have had more fun with a win, but I think they did have fun today.”

With only one more weekend to play before the conference tournament, USF (16-7, 8-4) and Louisville are tied for fourth in the Big East behind Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and conference-undefeated Notre Dame.

“We’re going to end on a win. We have unfinished business for sure,” said Arbogast, who is tied for first in the nation in blocks per set with 1.61.

The Bulls beat Louisville (15-10, 8-4) 3-0 in the Sun Dome Corral on Friday.

Sunday’s match, however, was an uphill battle from the start, as the Bulls immediately fell behind 4-0 in the first set.

USF’s offense only managed to hit .170 after attacking at .320 against Louisville. The Bulls’ defense also allowed the Bearcats to hit .343, despite recording 10 total team blocks.

Only Gurgel reached double-digit kills for the Bulls on Sunday, tallying 10, while two Bearcats recorded at least 15. As a team, USF committed 16 errors while only totaling 31 kills.

“They’re as athletic as they get and they’re really tough to defend,” Lessinger said. “They also didn’t get to see the best USF team on the other side of the net. It would have been a much more fun and competitive match if we had shown up a little more. I feel like we tried way too hard Sunday, and that explains all the errors.”