For every game we have different blocking and defensive strategies," said head coach Claire Lessinger. "The execution was there tonight."
USF defeated the Pirates in three sets, 25-21, 25-21 and 25-17. The Bulls hits .253 with 24 kills, led by senior preseason BIG EAST Player of the Year Marcela Gurgel with a match-high 12 kills.
The Bulls defense held Seton Hall to a .088 attack percentage, forcing 30 errors. All six starters for the Bulls knocked down at least two kills
After 10 score ties and seven lead changes, the Bulls won the first set, 25-21. unior Allie Boaz was perfect from the floor as she laid down five kills in five attempts. USF posted 6.5 blocks in first set, as senior Alli Arbogast led the way with four. The 6-3 middle blocker finished with 12 for the match, tying her career-high which she set last year against Seton Hall.
"I feel like I am communicating better with all of the other hitters," said Arbogast.
Trailing early in the first set, 3-0, the Bulls rallied back to score four straight points to begin the match. Each team had several runs, but neither team put it out of reach. With only two more points to win the first set, Seton Hall called a timeout to slow down the Bulls' momentum. The Pirates did not rally as the Bulls were the first to reach 25.
Trying to remain perfect on the season after leading, 1-0, the Bulls were on their way as they defeated Seton Hall, 25-21, in the second set. Sophomore transfer and libero Janice Rivera placed a ball right over the net to earn the first ace of the match and take a 3-2 lead. Gurgel followed by securing her 211th career ace to take the 11-9 lead. Seton Hall called a timeout during the Bulls' 5-0 run after falling behind, 18-16. Seton Halls' head coach Kris Zeiter did not like the ref's call as he received a yellow card, which increased the Bulls' lead to three. With the score 24-21, Boaz placed a ball perfectly to Gurgel for a kill to put the set away, allowing the Bulls to take the 2-0 lead.
Rivera had nine of her match-high 19 digs in the third set. Seton Hall once again took an early led in the set, but the Bulls bounced back, scoring five in a row and taking the 5-2 lead. USF never trailed from there. Gurgel hit .714 in the set, with five kills on seven attempts. The Bulls blocked seven Pirate attempts to ease through the third set, 25-17.
"I felt more disciplined tonight," said Rivera. "I was stopping to react to the balls and reading the hitters a lot better."
"What was more impressive is that the balls we did not block, we were digging," said Lessinger. "Credit to Janice with her 19 digs. We were playing much better defense around the block."
The Bulls return home to The Corral as they continue BIG EAST play on Friday against UConn at 7 p.m. The Bulls remain at home on Sunday for a matchup with St. John's at 1 p.m.