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USF splits weekend set

For the second consecutive week, the USF volleyball team came out of Big East play with a split, courtesy of a 3-0 (25-19, 25-10, 25-22) win against Rutgers followed by a 3-1 (21-25, 25-20, 21-25, 21-25) loss to Seton Hall at the Campus Recreation Center.

The Bulls, who had been on the road after their home win against Bethune-Cookman on Sept. 4, were glad to be back in Tampa and displayed it as they overmatched Rutgers in their first match of the weekend.

Freshman outside hitter Valerie El Houssine continued to make a name for herself, as she led the Bulls with five clutch service aces and 11 kills. Fellow outside hitter Kayla Walton also contributed an 11-kill performance and ranks third on the team with 113 kills this season.

“It was our game plan to come out strong and serve aggressively and score (on) some runs on offense,” coach Claire Lessinger said.

The Bulls executed the plan well, holding Rutgers to an average 17 points per set and capitalizing with a team effort of 33 kills.

Things were different for the Bulls in a tight loss to the Pirates on Sunday.

The Bulls were stumped by Seton Hall’s front line, which played a solid game on both sides of the ball.

USF struggled to stop Seton Hall setter Shelbey Manthorpe, who posted 27 assists.

“Seton Hall is one of the most difficult teams to defend because their setter is so active,” Lessinger said. “That is such an offensive weapon. There are a lot of things about defending them that makes it very difficult.”

USF’s freshman setter Shelbie Dailey posted a match-high 42 assists of her own as USF managed to score 20 or more points in every set.

“Seton Hall is going to be a team that will continue to have some big upsets,” Lessigner said. “I look at this and we can take a lot out of this positively, but we have to focus on notching W’s.”

The Bulls now fall to 6-10 overall and 2-2 in Big East play.