TAMPA – The USF volleyball team will start its Big East run
with tons of momentum.
The Bulls won their sixth consecutive match by handling FGCU
in four sets, 25-14, 25-21, 17-25, 25-16, on Tuesday night at the Corral. USF
(8-5) begins Big East play 2 p.m. Saturday at Rutgers and faces Seton Hall 2
p.m. Sunday in South Orange, N.J.
“I think it gives the girls confidence now that we have six
wins in a row,” head coach Courtney Draper said. “We’re excited for them to get
into Big East play and see where it goes from here.”
Freshman Erin Fairs posted the fourth double-double of her
young career with 11 kills and 11 digs. Fellow freshman Ciara Brown helped out
with 10 kills in USF’s fifth straight home victory.
“With Big East coming, we’re more focused on our goals,”
Fairs said. “The team really put me in the right position and gave me
one-on-ones to get the kills I did get.”
USF cruised through its 10th straight set win to
open Tuesday’s match. Andrea Rodriguez Gomez, Caitlyn Breen and Fairs each
recorded three kills to help the Bulls post a .314 hitting percentage. The USF
defense held FGCU to a .083 hitting percentage to start the fourth match in the
The Bulls never trailed in the first set, but had some
catching up to do in the second. USF trailed, 18-12, before going on a 7-0 run
to seize the lead. One of Rodriguez Gomez’s three kills in the set tied
things up and one of Fairs’ three kills sealed the deal heading into the break.
“We fell asleep a little bit, but still were able to recover
from that deficit thanks mostly to their errors,” Draper said.
FGCU (4-7) didn’t go down without a fight and wound up
snapping USF’s set win streak at 11 with a 25-17 decision after the break. The
Bulls’ streak started during a 3-1 win over James Madison on Sept. 14 and the
team’s confidence skyrocketed during three-set wins over Bethune-Cookman and
FIU that secured a USF Tournament victory last weekend.
The Bulls rebounded in a big way in the fourth set by
holding FGCU to a .075 hitting percentage. Brown posted five kills to help USF
lead from start to finish.
Wyle Devlin recorded her fifth double-double with 27 assists
and 10 digs. Libero Claudia Cabrera continued to be a force in the middle with
"Momentum going into the Big East is awesome," Draper said. "I think there is going to be some really tough competition this weekend, but we're looking forward to it."