USF falls short in two match series against Florida Gulf Coast

The Bulls moved to 2-2 on the season after losing two straight matches to FGCU. USF ATHLETICS PHOTO

The USF women’s volleyball team had a busy weekend as it took on Atlantic Sun Conference champion Florida Gulf Coast in a two-match series. The Bulls started strong, but the Eagles eventually pulled through with a two-match sweep.

USF took an early 2-0 lead in the first match Friday, but FGCU secured the last three sets, ultimately winning the match 3-2. 

Despite the loss, freshman Marta Cvitkovic put up a team-high 23 kills and posted a .296 hitting percentage. Her performance stood out to coach Jolene Shepardson. 

“I am really proud of Marta because she’s just a freshman,” Shepardson said. “She struggled a long way from Croatia and she’s really stepping up. Six rotation players, serving tough, playing defense… she got some good block setups today so her game all around is something that we expect to be good, but I don’t think she’s acting like a freshman. I’m really proud of her.”

As for other Bulls who performed well, junior Maria Idjilov logged a new career record with 54 assists, and freshman Makayla Washington had 15 kills and three blocks.

The next match the following day saw the Bulls fall to the Eagles again, this time 3-0.

The Bulls lost the first set 25-22, and the second by a wider margin of 25-17. The third and final set was a 25-21 victory in FGCU’s favor, completing the Eagles’ 3-0 win.

In spite of the loss, Cvitkovic continued her promising performance. She was the team leader in kills with 17 and added nine digs.

Washington also played well, the freshman added seven kills and three blocks. Shepardson noted her performance.

“Makayla Washington is a great point scorer for us,” she said. “Big game [for her] both defensively and offensively.”

As for what’s next for Shepardson and the Bulls, the preparation for their next match starts Monday.

“There’s definitely some highs there,” Shepardson said. “[It] was a great battle last night. Today we didn’t come out our finest and so my expectation is that we get back to the drawing board on Monday and hit the ground running.”

The next match for the Bulls is scheduled for Feb. 12 versus Temple at home in the Corral. The match is set to begin at 1 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN+ and broadcast on 95.3/620 WDAE iHeartRadio Bulls Unlimited.