Bulls salvage weekend with win in Chicago

The USF volleyball team took to the road this weekend and faced another tough slate of games.

USF (6-8) emerged from the weekend with only a single win out of three games, beginning with losses to Northwestern and IUPUI on Friday evening.

The loss to Northwestern was USF’s third game taken to five sets this year, and the Bulls now have a 1-2 record five-set matches.

Saturday brought the Bulls better luck when they defeated Miami University in four sets behind a record-setting performance from sophomore Erin Fairs.

Fairs recorded 20 digs and 20 kills for the first time in her career and established a new career-high in kills at a time when USF needed a spark heading into conference play.

USF begins conference play with a 3-3 record at home, a 1-2 record as visitor and a 2-3 record on neutral courts.

While USF coach Courtney Draper and senior Andrea Rodriguez Gomez said the Bulls’ offensive errors have hurt them in a big way, the Bulls have been strong defensively through one month of play.

Draper’s recruitment of junior transfer middle-blocker Jennica Mullins has paid big dividends for USF defensively, evidenced by the Bulls leading the American Athletic Conference (AAC) in blocks per
set at 2.49.

Individually, Mullins is second in the conference with 1.08 blocks per set, while Gomez is first with 1.25 per set and Fairs is third in the conference with 4.32 digs per set.

Heading into conference play, the Bulls will look to build on these positives as well as improve on their errors, and a ninth place standing in service aces.

Last week, Draper said she has been preparing the Bulls specifically for conference play with a tough early schedule, and now the Bulls have a chance to put that preparation to the test.

USF will have the week to prepare for the AAC opener against local rivals UCF in Orlando on Friday at 8 p.m.