This past weekend USF’s women’s volleyball team (3-0) took all three of their games at War Memorial Gym for the San Francisco Invitational. Their first game was on Saturday the 28th against San Diego State (1-2) and their second and third game was on Sunday the 29th against Cal State Bakersfield (0-3) and the University of Denver (2-1). The Dons won all three games only losing one set in each of Sunday’s games.
During Sunday’s final game against Denver, USF fell behind 12-16 in the first set but fought back with a 7-1 rally to put them up 19-17 and finished on top 25-22. In the second set the two teams had an exciting back and forth with 11 ties and seven lead changes, San Francisco claimed the second set 26-24. In the third set USF led for most of the start but after five straight points by Denver, the Dons couldn’t recover or even work back a tie the rest of the way. Denver claimed the third set 25-22. During the fourth set San Francisco wreaked havoc and didn’t give Denver a chance to breathe. After jumping out to a 9-2 lead the team worked its way to a 17-9 lead and finally wiped Denver 25-16 to claim the fourth set and a solid 3-1 victory. USF setters were dialed in; junior Kiara McKibben and senior Jurja Vlasic tallied 29 and 11 assists respectively. Sophomores Jessica Gaffney and Kim Gutierrez each posted 11 digs. Junior Katarina Pilepic logged 11 digs of her own as well as 16 kills.
In Sunday’s first game the team faced CSU Bakersfield. Bakersfield jumped out to a 7-2 lead in the first set but USF clawed back and eventually took a 16-13 lead. Unfortunately the Dons’ lead dissipated and they lost the first set 22-25. San Francisco managed to turn the tide though and took three straight sets to earn a 3-1 victory. The Dons cruised easily to a second set 25-14 victory. The third was similar as San Francisco never trailed and took the set handily 25-16. Bakersfield had more fight in the fourth set. A USF 19-16 lead disappeared after five straight points from Bakersfield gave them a 21-19 lead. The Dons responded with four straight points of their own and eventually won 25-23. Pilepic and sophomore Oluoma Okaro led the way with 16 and 11 kills respectively. Guitierrez worked 16 digs while Gaffney, McKibben, Pilepic and Vlasic each had eight of their own.
San Francisco’s first match of the weekend was against San Diego State. The Dons blind-sided the Aztecs in straight sets 25-18, 25-14 and 25-20. There was a nice even spread of kills on the team as five different players recorded five or more kills led by Pilipec’s 10. Senior Courtney Sabahi also accounted for four kills as well as three solo blocks. Freshman Madison Murtagh was a brick wall posting five solo blocks of her own.
USF will take to the court again in Utah for the Utah State Invitational when they face Southern Utah, Middle Tennessee and Utah State starting September 9th.