WHAT: NC State Courtyard Midtown Classic
WHERE: Reynolds Coliseum, Raleigh, N.C.
USF SCHEDULE: Friday vs. NC State at 7 p.m.; Saturday vs. VCU at 10:30 a.m.; Saturday vs. Kent State at 5 p.m.
TWITTER UPDATES: @usfvolleyball
By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
TAMPA - The Bulls now know what it takes to win and they'll be hungry for more success this weekend at the NC State Courtyard Midtown Classic.
The USF volleyball team begins its run in Raleigh, N.C., against NC State (3-0) on Friday at 7 p.m. The Bulls face VCU (3-0) on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. and finish the day off with a test against Kent State (1-2) at 5 p.m.
USF (1-2) started the season off with a trio of matches at home last weekend during the USF Invitational. The Bulls gave Draper her first win at USF by outlasting in-state rival UCF in five sets on Sunday. Valerie El Houssine and Andrea Rodriguez Gomez made the all-tournament team. El Houssine posted 38 total kills and Rodriguez Gomez recorded a career-high 14 kills against the Knights.
"I think we're building confidence every time we're on the court together," head coach Courtney Draper said.
The Bulls also built up a nice wall of defense against UCF. The team racked up 15 total blocks with middle blocker Shelbey Bleke coming up with eight to set her USF career high. Rodriguez Gomez and freshman Erin Fairs combined for nine blocks, while the Knights committed 31 errors.
"There were so many players that did a great job blocking for us," Draper said.
Now the Bulls take their show on the road for the first time with seven newcomers on the squad. Draper said USF will get used to the court at NC State on Thursday and embrace the experience away from the Corral.
"I think they're really excited for their first road trip together with a lot of new players on the team," Draper said. "It's a fun bonding experience for women's teams when you're traveling quite a distance. The competition is going to be good again. It doesn't get any easier."
The Bulls play three times at the St. Louis Tournament next weekend before returning to the Corral to host the USF Tournament Sept. 14-16. Purchase tickets for the tournament HERE.