CORAL GABLES, Fla. - University of South Florida outside hitter Marcela Gurgel moved into sixth all-time on the career kills list after leading the Bulls to their first victory of the 2009 season with a 25-12, 25-12, 25-8 win over Prairie View A&M (0-1) Friday afternoon at the University of Hurricane Invitational at the James L. Knight Sports Complex.
"It feels good to get a win and even better to execute our gameplan," said Lessinger. "With not knowing much about Prairie View, we knew we needed to focus on our side of the net and take care of the ball. The things we did best today were that we served tough, which led to a lot of blocks, and we took care of the first ball contacts, which allowed us to offensively attack our opponent with all our weapons. This was a team win and we need to capitalize on this - tomorrow's matches will be very challenging."
USF, now 1-0, was lead by senior Alli Arbogast with eight kills and five blocks, including four kills and three blocks in the third set alone. The Bulls attacked at a .439 clip, while limiting Prairie View to a -.092 attack percentage. Junior Mariana Thon dished out 18 assists and Brittany Castelamare added eight. The Bulls out played the Panthers at the net, posting 13.5 team blocks to Prairie View's three.
The Bulls took the first set, 25-12, with senior Jarka Havlickova and junior Alli Boaz leading the way with four kills each. With the Bulls and the Panthers tied, 7-7, in the set, a Prairie View service error triggered a 9-0 run by Lessinger's squad to put USF ahead, 16-7. The Bulls allowed only five more points the rest of the way, posting a .765 attack percentage without a single error for the first-set win.
The Bulls then took care of the second set in similar fashion with a 25-12 win. Senior transfer Pamela Luiz and Havlickova each recorded two kills apiece while Thon handed out four assists in the second set.
In the third set, the Bulls held Prairie View to single digits with a 25-8 win. Freshman Caitlyn Breen, in her first career start, recorded two solo blocks in the third set to go along with her four total blocks for the match.
With a 3-0 lead in the third set, Gurgel spiked a ball to record her 1,414th-career kill and move into sixth place on the all-time career kills list, surpassing Kristina Fabris.
The Bulls continue play in the Hurricane Invitational on Saturday with matches at 10 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. against Florida Gulf Coast and Miami, respectively.