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Big East tournament run ends

Good things have to end at some point. They did for the USF volleyball team.

After reaching the Big East semifinals for the second time in school history, the Bulls’ hopes of a conference championship ended Saturday in Louisville as the Cincinnati Bearcats (24-9) eliminated them in straight sets.

“I told my players to keep their heads up and walk with pride — they have so much to be proud of,” said USF coach Claire Lessinger. “(Saturday) just wasn’t our night.”

Earlier in the season, Cincinnati shut down the Bulls in straight sets and held them to .170 attacking. USF was held to .163 Saturday and had 20 errors in the match.

“We play better against teams that have quick offenses like ours,” said middle blocker Alli Arbogast. “And their offense is slower. We don’t match up very well against teams like that because in the gym every day our defense sees our own quick offense.”

USF (18-9) finished with its highest conference win total and earned a No. 6 seed in the tournament. At the Big East Banquet on Thursday night, three Bulls also were named All Big-East.

Seniors Marcela Gurgel and Arbogast were named to the first team — Gurgel’s fourth time. Junior outside hitter Allie Boaz was named to the second team. The total was the most the program has had since joining the conference in 2005.

“It was kind of surprising but exciting as well,” Arbogast said.

On Friday, the Bulls defeated Pittsburgh 3-1. Gurgel and senior Pamela Luiz led the team with double-doubles.

“That was by far the biggest win for this group this year,” Lessinger said.