USF volleyball swept by Georgia Tech in season-opener

After a promising first set, USF was unable to produce offensively, recording just 11 kills in the final two sets. ORACLE PHOTO/ARI RENICK

USF volleyball was shut out 3-0 in its season-opening match against No. 20 Georgia Tech in the “Road 2 Tampa Bay” tournament at Amalie Arena.

The Bulls (0-1) started their opening set on Friday against the Yellow Jackets (1-0) competitively, leading by as many as five points before losing 25-23.

South Florida’s offense produced 16 kills and three aces during the first period, just edging out Georgia Tech which managed 14 kills and two aces.

Bulls head coach Jolene Shepardson said the way her team started the match made her proud.

“[Georgia Tech] gained a lot of confidence winning that first set, but we pushed them and knew that we can create that type of game… we were doing some fantastic fun things with the speed of our offense and fighting on defense or our tough serves,” Shepardson said.

“We can give people a lot of trouble. So it was tough not to win that one.” 

Going into the second set, Georgia Tech would bunker down their defense, winning the following two sets 25-13 and 25-12. The Yellow Jackets had eight blocks and only gave up 11 kills to the Bulls in the final two sets. 

Early In the third set, South Florida seemed to liven up. Its 9-4 lead was reminiscent of first-set performance. 

However, any hope of a comeback was halted after GT went on a 21-3 run to close out the sweep.

Sophomore outside hitters Sophomore outside hitters Buse Hazan and Maria Clara Andrade were the Bulls top performers.

Hazan recorded seven kills and three aces, surpassing her career high in both categories.

Andrade paired her team-high nine kills by matching her career-high in service aces with three. Despite tying that mark for the third time in her career, she said no individual accolade is more important than the team’s success.

For me, I definitely can do better than that. I’ll be happy if we win, not just because I played well,” Andrade said.

“I can do better, and there’s always something I could work on.”

Sophomore outside hitter Maria Clara Andrade tied a career-high in service aces, with three for the third time in her career. ORACLE PHOTO/ARI RENICK

Shepardson said she wants her team to build off of the experience of playing elite competition like Georgia Tech to make her team sharper.

“We have a tough opponent to face tomorrow, and I want to build off tonight,” Shepardson said.

“I want to see how much better we can get and I think they’re hungry for that. So it’s exciting to see that in their eyes.”