After pulling off a single win in both home and road tournaments to start the season, the USF volleyball team (2-4-0) is ready to win multiple games, as it looks to turn around their two weekend tournaments.
“Last weekend, I think we just came into the weekend too eager,” junior middle blocker Andrea Rodriguez Gomez said. “We wanted to just go in and win the whole thing, go 3-0, and we ended up 1-2. This time, we are going to just go in, game one, try to win one game, and then same thing for games two and three.”
The Caracas, Venezuela, product said because of the younger squad, the first road trip of the season served as a learning experience.
“Last weekend was a really exciting experience for the team,” she said. “About half of our team is underclassmen, and they don’t have a lot of experience, so it was big for them and hopefully that will reflect this upcoming weekend.”
Coach Courtney Draper, who has started her first season at the helm with a five-set win over UCF and a sweep of VCU, said the latter win could be a building block for a team that’s looking to step up as the season goes on.
“I felt like VCU was a very encouraging match, we were very close to flawless, because that is a great team,” Draper said. “We’re their only loss this year, and they’ve played some very good competition. I’m very encouraged by our performance against VCU. If we can do that consistently, we can have a really good year.”
One thing Draper wants to work on is the team’s passing ability. She said the team has focused on siding out more consistently, which helped them win games early on in the season.
“A big piece of our game is siding out, when we beat VCU so well we sided out at about 77 percent,” Draper said. “The matches we weren’t as successful in we were at about 50 or 55 percent. If you can’t get those side outs, you’re going to struggle a little bit.”
The Bulls open the weekend with a match against Southeast Missouri State, opening the St. Louis Tournament at 5:30 p.m. Friday. They will then play a double header on Saturday, taking on Evansville and host St. Louis, at 11:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., respectively. Draper said all three games can be won and are up for grabs.
“I think all three of these matches are winnable matches,” she said. “So I have high expectations for the team for this weekend.”
Women’s soccer looks to halt slump The USF women’s soccer team will look to get back on track in the final two games of the longest road trip of the season, after an up-and-down start.
Though the Bulls have scored three goals from junior Sharla Passariello in the first three games of the trek, the team has not won since it beat Indiana on Aug. 24. Late defensive lapses against Georgia and Dartmouth doomed the Bulls to an 0-2 record at the UCF Tournament.
The team will now travel to Charleston, S.C., for the College of Charleston Cup. After taking on the host team to start the tournament Friday at 7:30 p.m., the Bulls will close out a five-game road trip with a match against Kennesaw State at noon on Sunday.
A silver lining awaits at the end of the road trip, as the Bulls will be able to return to the friendly confines of Corbett Soccer Stadium, where they will open up Big East play against Pittsburgh on Sept. 26 at 1 p.m.
Big East releases men’s basketball schedule The best season in school history was enough to grab national attention for the USF men’s basketball team.
Following a season that saw the team play in three total games on the ESPN family of networks, the Bulls will play ten games on an ESPN channel, including eight during Big East play.
Conference play begins on Jan. 6, when the Bulls host the Syracuse Orange, a team that spent a large part of the 2011-2012 season ranked top in the nation, at the newly renovated USF Sun Dome.
The Bulls’ first appearance on the ESPN family of networks will be on Jan. 17, when they travel to New Jersey to take on Rutgers. The game, begins at 9 p.m. on either ESPN or ESPN2.
Fans can arrive at the Sun Dome in full force on Feb. 6, when the newly renovated stadium will be showcased on ESPN2. The Bulls will take on the Marquette Golden Eagles, a yearly contender in the Big East, for a game that will be played at either 7 p.m. or 9 p.m.
The schedule’s highlight may be on Feb. 17, when the Bulls match up against the Louisville Cardinals, a team the Bulls beat last season to solidify its NCAA Tournament selection. The game will be on ESPN, and begins at 1 p.m.
Senior Day will be celebrated on March 6 when USF hosts the UConn Huskies in the second to last game of the season. The game will be televised on ESPNU, with tip off scheduled for 9 p.m.