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Young Bulls fall to SMU in 4 sets


Young teams can be fun because they’re energetic and constantly learning. 

But learning can come with making a lot of mistakes.

These mistakes cost USF volleyball (7-13, 1-5 AAC) against SMU (11-5, 4-2 AAC) on Sunday at The Corral, as the Bulls committed 37 errors on the way to their fifth straight loss. 

“When we’re good we’re really good, but then we go through spurts where we just make too many errors,” coach Courtney Draper said. “It’s almost like it’s contagious volleyball … you just can’t afford to give an opponent 37 points they didn’t earn.”

There were some really good looking moments in the four-set match though (22-25, 25-18, 22-25, 18-25). The passing and defense were there for the young Bulls, they just couldn’t convert them into points. 

Junior middle blocker Nyemba Musemuna was a standout for the Bulls, with the most consistent hitting percentage at .538. She also contributed on the defensive end, having four solo blocks and zero errors. 

“I think going into practice we need to focus on making so many errors,” Musemuna said. 

The first set was extremely competitive and full of runs. 

The Bulls got off to a hot start, leading 5-0 before the first timeout. 

SMU crawled its way back after that though, looking like an entirely different team. The Mustangs found areas in the corner that put USF’s defensive starters out of position. 

Things stayed competitive the whole set but some communication errors among the Bulls helped put SMU over the top.

The second set showed USF’s real potential when it isn’t making as many mistakes. There was even scoring between senior outside hitter Jac’cara Walker and sophomore outside hitter Lindsey Pliapol in the set, who both ended the match with 12 and 13 kills, respectively. 

But this wasn’t consistent throughout the rest of the match. While Pliapol did record 13 kills, it was on 43 attempts, resulting in a .116 hit percentage. Walker looked similar at .184.

“We just have to play a little more consistent and kind of how our attackers need to know when they’re in a good position to swing and when they’re not,” Draper said.

Looking ahead, USF takes on Tulsa at 7 p.m. on Friday in Oklahoma followed by Wichita State at 2 p.m on Sunday in Kansas. 

“It’s gonna be a rough road trip to Tulsa and Wichita, but I mean I think our kids come to battle every night …  and we just have to continue to do that,” Draper said.