FORT MYERS - The University of South Florida volleyball team (8-11) suffered a 3-0 setback to in-state rival Florida Gulf Coast University, 22-25, 23-25, 19-25, in a midweek non-conference matchup on Wednesday.
Following a thrilling weekend that featured a pair of emotional five-set triumphs over Connecticut and St. John's, USF struggled to get things going in the short three-day turnaround. The Eagles (10-8), who have now won five out of their last six matches, outhit the visiting Bulls .245 to .169 en route to the three-set decision.
"We couldn't get anything going from all key positions," head coach Claire Lessinger said. "We need to take advantage of our weekend by resting our bodies and refreshing our minds."
The Bulls hung tough in all three sets, but couldn't muster enough production down the stretch to take a set. USF knotted the score at 16-16 in the first and third sets and tied the second set at 14-14 before the Eagles mounted three late runs.
Trailing 14-9 in the third set, junior setter Jessica Burghart tallied a pair of kills, while Caitlyn Breen and Andrea Rodriguez Gomez each added a kill during an 8-2 run that gave USF the lead at 17-16. However, the host Eagles secured the victory on the strength of a 9-2 spurt to close out the match.
Junior outside hitter J'beria Davis led the Bulls with seven kills. Sophomore Kayla Walton, who averaged a .344 hitting percentage in USF's wins last weekend, continued to be efficient from the right-side hitter position as she notched a .600 hitting percentage and six kills.
Senior libero Janice Rivera passed former AVCA All-American Marcela Gurgel on the career digs list, moving into eighth place with 1,087 in her third season with the Bulls. Rivera and junior transfer Claudia Cabrera managed a match-high 10 digs. Rodriguez Gomez registered a match-high four blocks, raising her team leading block total to 89 (36th nationally).
The Bulls will return to Big East play following a nine-day break. USF will battle DePaul and Notre Dame on Friday, Oct. 21 and Notre Dame on Sunday, Oct. 23, respectively.