Hall looks to beat USF
Starting Big East play 2-0 for the first time since 1994, the volleyball team heads down to face the University of South Florida on Sunday.
Coming into the game the Hall holds a 11-6 record while winning eight of their last ninematches. The only loss for the Pirates during the stretch was a 3-1 loss to TCU who currently holds a 14-1 record.
The Bulls enter the match with a 5-9 overall record and a 1-1 record in the conference.
Both conference games for the Hall have been on the road so far this year, while South Florida will be playing their second conference match at home.
“(South Florida) are tough to play at their place,” head coach Kris Zeiter said. “We get excited to play them. It is a tough, physical, excited team and if we can match them it says something about us.”
Leading the Pirates on the attack is senior Megan Matusiak with 211 kills on the year and an average of 3.77 kills per set.
Second on the team in kills is freshman Stacy Manthrope with 145 kills for a 2.59 average per set.
Heading the backline for the team is sophomore Alyssa Warren, who is currently second in the Big East in digs per set.
Warren averages 5.95 digs a set while picking up 327 on the year.
One of the big challenges the Hall faces against South Florida is their ability to block shots.
The Bulls are second in the conference in blocks with 130.5 this season while averaging 2.56 per set.
“We have to try to stay away from their big blockers,” Zeiter said. “We play real quick so I think we are a more difficult team to play. We will get blocked some but more often than not I don’t think we will.”
The big blocker for South Florida is sophomore Andrea Gomez Rodriguez who has averaged 1.25 blocks per set this season which ties her for third in the Big East.
Kayla Walton is second with 49 blocked shots this season for an average just under one a set at .96 blocks a set.
The other top players for the Bulls are freshman Valerie El Houssine who has 167 kills for a 3.27 kills per set average and senior Janice Rivera with 200 digs on the year at a 4.35 average.
Before facing the Hall on Sunday, South Florida will face Rutgers on Saturday at home and that is one thing the Pirates are looking to exploit.
“It’s a big advantage,” Zeiter said. “We have an extra day to prepare for them where they don’t and their best players are going to be swinging the day before and mine aren’t.”
The Pirates will have three days of rest going into the match after a 3-1 victory over Fordham on Wednesday.
Another advantage for the Hall will be the low hitting percentage for South Florida.
The Bulls are currently ranked 14 out of 15 Big East team with a .165 hitting percentage on the year.
However, the Pirates believe that the most important thing for them to continue their success is their mentality entering the games.
“Keep our intensity,” junior Hannah Hugeback said. “We have been playing with a lot of attitude and intensity lately.”
Stephen Valenti can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org