USF volleyball has nearly-perfect start to its season

USF volleyball celebrates the conclusion of its weekend. The Bulls improved to a 5-1 start this season compared to a 2-4 start last season. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE/GOUSFBULLS

The USF women’s volleyball has turned its team around this season, beginning with a 5-1 record compared to last year’s 2-4 record.

The Bulls are coming off a weekend in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where they played Duke, Texas A&M Corpus Christi, and LSU.

Their weekend began Friday against Duke. Although coach Courtney Draper and the team were looking to continue their win streak, they fell short losing to Duke three sets to one.

Later in the day, however, USF took on Texas A&M Corpus Christi and were slightly more prepared. They were able to turn around from their loss earlier and won in five sets, 3-2.

“Texas A&M Corpus Christi doesn’t have a good record, but obviously they took Duke to five,” Draper said. “They are scrappy and fiesty, they really made us earn our points. We had to work hard.”

Their final match of the weekend was against LSU.  According to Draper, the team was excited to play against the Tigers.

“Finishing at LSU was very exciting for our players and I was thrilled with our teams performance,” Draper said.

The Bulls were able to come out on top against LSU 3-2, a win the team and coaches have held high for themselves. They feel confident going forward emphasizing how well the team has played together. Both players and coaches feel that everyone is on the same page.

“I feel like we are pretty confident, because we have played well together,” freshman libero CC Clausen said. “We have been working really hard in the gym and we know what we want. I think we are pretty confident for the rest of the season”

Players and coaches also pointed out some veteran players — junior Jac’Cara Walker, senior Briana Stowell and senior Clara Payne —who have stepped up to help the team get its 5-1 start.

“Clara Payne is a really good leader, she works really hard and her stats show it too,” Clausen said. “Jac’Cara Walker has also put up high stats and she has been working really hard as well.”

In addition, some of the younger players have also made an impact on the team.

Coaches and players spoke highly of a trio of freshmen —for Lindsey Pliapol, Lauren LaBeck and Peyton Thompson.

“In the LSU game LaBeck and Thompson got minutes in crucial moments,” Draper said.  “They don’t have experience, but they have size and it was fun to see them make an impact against an SEC school. Pliapol has taken a lot of swings for us, she is second on the team in attempts. For a freshman to be taking that many swings on a team that is 5-1, I think that’s pretty impressive.”

Draper also has high hopes for sophomore Jaeden Brown going forward, as her play on the court has given Draper a lot of confidence in her player.

“I don’t typically talk to my players parents, but I did send her mom a text, because I believe (Brown) is going to have an incredible season,” Draper said. “So far she has done good and we expect her to continue that going forward.”

After leaving this weekend 5-1, the Bulls look to keep their confidence high and are aiming for high achievements as well. They will travel to Brooklyn, New York, this weekend to take on George Washington University, LIU Brooklyn and Holy Cross.

“I hope that we can be top 3 in the conference at least and continue to get more wins,” Clausen said. “I want to make it to the tournament as well.”