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Looking ahead at 2022 volleyball schedule

South Florida claimed only one of the four matches in its contest against Temple. USF ATHLETICS PHOTO

After a 7-24 (1-19 AAC) season, the pressure is on for USF women’s volleyball to put on a better performance in 2022 and put up more wins.

In the schedule, the team will go up against a few familiar faces with a mix of new teams it has yet to play. Here is what the 2022 season will look like in the upcoming 32 matches.

Nonconference play

The Bulls faced in-state teams six times in nonconference play in 2021. However, the Bulls will only take on Stetson on Sept. 16 at The Corral this season. USF won half of its Florida matchups last year, including a win over the Hatters.

As for the rest of the schedule, South Florida will begin its season at home in a three-game homestand against three teams: William and Mary, Ball State and South Alabama.

USF volleyball will then hit the road to New York and Texas for six matches. One of the opponents includes the University of Texas at San Antonio, a program joining the AAC in 2023.

South Florida will host its final homestand Sept. 16-17 against Cornell, Stetson and South Dakota.

The majority of the Bull’s wins are sourced from this sector of the schedule and will have to take advantage of these games if the conference proves to be as difficult as it was in 2021.

Conference play

Volleyball suffered during its conference season, only securing a win against Memphis, claiming three of four sets.

The team will face each team in conference twice, one home and one away. The most feared in the conference schedule is reigning AAC champions Central Florida. The Knights (27-7, 19-1 AAC) advanced to the NCAA championship but lost to UCLA.

Along with the Knights, AAC holds other threats like Houston, Cincinnati and Southern Methodist, all with winning percentages over .700 in the conference.

In conference play, five matches will take place in the Yuengling Center rather than The Corral. The first two will be Sept. 30 against Tulsa and Oct. 2 against Wichita State. The other three will occur Nov. 4, 6 and 9 when the Bulls face Memphis, SMU and UCF, respectively.

From attacks to blocking, opponents outperform the Bulls in every category. In kills, all away teams have accumulated 1,415 while South Florida has 1,389. Digs also show a large margin with USF holding 1,606 while rivals carry 1,737.

The only sector the Bulls seem to do better in is in errors. They outnumber their contenders in reception, serve, set and attack errors.

For the team to stand a chance in making a better record than the previous season, both offense and defense need to make a major step up and stay consistent through each match.