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USF eager to get back to winning ways

The USF volleyball team will host its first two home Big East matches of the season this weekend at the Sun Dome Corral.

The 17th-ranked Louisville Cardinals (12-2) will visit Friday night and the Cincinnati Bearcats (3-11) come to town Sunday afternoon.

The possibility of a high-energy performance against an elite team and a slower-paced performance against an unranked team sometimes weighs on a coachs mind.

But coach Courtney Draper said the Bulls will be equally prepared for both teams.

Were not going to overlook Cincinnati, she said. Seven of its 14 opponents have been ranked in the top 25 and they have six seniors. Those opponents make them ready. We have to be ready for them.

Draper said she is emphasizing side-outs against Louisville, something that hurt the Bulls against Seton Hall last weekend. The Bulls excelled against Rutgers but struggled with the force and aggressiveness of Seton Hall.

When Seton Hall put the ball down, they really put it down, she said. We have to be able to match kills with Louisville, keep it close and go for the win in the 20s.

USF ranks in the top five in the Big East in hitting, kills, assists, blocks and digs. But the struggle lies in setting up the offense.

Were getting beat at the serving and passing game right now. Thats what were working on this week, especially for these two teams, she said.

Draper also said shes glad to have Louisville at the Corral this year.

We have a great crowd, she said. The fans are loud and creative. Its almost like having a seventh man out there.

The Bulls will play the Cardinals at 7 p.m. on Friday and the Bearcats at 1 p.m. on Sunday.