TAMPA - The University of South Florida volleyball team came out firing on all cylinders as it posted a sweep (25-16, 25-14, 25-22) over Bethune Cookman (2-5) at the USF Volleyball Invitational on Sunday.
With a 1-3 record in the tournament, USF (1-5) finished in a three-way tie for third place but won the tiebreaker over UMES and BCU.
Freshman outside hitter Valerie El Houssine shined in the team’s three-set triumph as she posted her second double-double in only six career games. El Houssine, who was named to the All-Tournament Team, netted a personal best 15 kills on the strength of a .481 hitting percentage. She also added 10 digs, a pair of blocks and ace.
“We had tremendous offensive production from our outside hitters today,” head coach Claire Lessinger said. “I was just proud of them. The girls’ composure and execution were great and we didn’t let that falter down the stretch.”
The Bulls throttled Bethune-Cookman in the opening two frames. USF featured a balanced attack both offensively and defensively. As a team, the Bulls registered hitting percentages of .400 and .357 in the first two games, while the defense stymied Bethune-Cookman to hitting percentages of .074 and -0.88 in the first two games.
After leading for much of the third game, USF closed out the match with a 25-22 victory. Junior outside hitter
J’beria Davis blasted several clutch kills in the final game. She recorded a .391 hitting percentage for the match and added five of her 12 kills during the third game.
USF continued to dominate its foes from the blocking lines. Sophomore middle blocker Andrea Rodriguez Gomez added two solo blocks and three block assists to help USF outblock its opponent for the sixth consecutive game this season. The Bulls posted 10 team blocks compared to 3.5 for Bethune-Cookman.
The Bulls are back in action next weekend at the UCF Invitational. USF will face Florida Atlantic, UNC Greensboro and UCF in the four-team round robin event.
2011 USF Volleyball Invitational All-Tournament Team
Kari Galen (Tournament MVP) – Bowling Green
Emily Kauth – Bowling Green
Ashley Dunn – Bowling Green
Ashley Edmond – Eastern Kentucky
Kelsey Kuehnur – Eastern Kentucky
Valerie El Houssine – USF
Saitaua Iosia – UMES
Janeen Davis – BCU