Bulls back to basics

After playing on the road for three weeks and traveling through airports and hotels, the USF volleyball team is finally coming home.

The Bulls (3-5) are preparing to play their first home game of the season after eight straight road games, and will host New Mexico on Friday and Florida Atlantic and Jacksonville on Saturday.

Coach Claire Lessinger said she has the team working on basic techniques and breaking down positions, concentrating on their own concerns instead of worrying about their upcoming opponents.

“In past teams, we may have been training for the opponent a lot sooner right now, (but) we’re spending a lot more time on us,” Lessinger said. “That’s where we feel like some of the execution is not being made.”

Newcomers like freshmen Kayla Walton and Liz Barton will get their first taste of playing in the Corral this weekend.

Senior Captain Allie Boaz, who received Saluki Invitational All-Tournament honors last week, said the team is excited to play at home.

“We look forward to be playing in our home gym, especially with our fans,” Boaz said. “They (are) what make the game to us.”

Boaz said the team needs to focus more on attention to details and limit silly errors.

Lessinger said the team’s youth explains its inconsistencies thus far.

“A lot of players are being thrown to the fire, and we’re still teaching them our system,” Lessinger said. “We’re still teaching them the way we play, the style we play with, our offensive and defensive strategies.”

Lessinger said she scheduled the team against tough competition early in the season to get it prepared for Big East conference play, which begins next week.

The Bulls, however, will be without sophomore outside hitter Maija Strazdina, who injured her left knee last week and will miss the remainder of the season.

Junior Kimika Rozier and sophomore J’beria Davis will share the position as Lessinger decides on a permanent starter.