The USF volleyball team qualified for the Big East tournament as the #6 seed and will head to Marquette for the eight-team tournament beginning on Friday.
USF, 16-13 on the season and 7-8 in Big East play, has adjusted well to new head coach Courtney Draper, and now prepares for the biggest test of the season as they take on Notre Dame in the first round of the tournament. The Irish went 20-7 during the regular season, but were 13-2 in conference play and swept the Bulls in three sets in South Bend in their only regular-season matchup. In that match, Kayla Walton led the Bulls with 11 kills. Wylie Devlin had 9 assists, Valerie El Houssine had seven digs, and Ciara Brown had eight kills in the losing effort. USF has a daunting task in this game, but with little expecting them to win, they can play loose and not get wrapped up in the pressure.
Notre Dame is led by 6'0" sophomore outside hitter Tini Alugbue who finished the regular season with 366 kills, 17 service aces, 241 digs, and 63 blocks. In the win against USF, she had seven kills and six blocks. 6'2" sophomore right-side hitter Jeni Houser had 335 kills during the regular season including 55 digs and 83 blocks. Houser had 11 kills against USF, playing well at the net against the Bulls' front line. Junior setter Maggie Brindock (5'11") had 95 kills, 980 assists, and 207 digs, racking up 35 assists in the win over the Bulls. Rounding out the team for Notre Dame is freshman libero Taylor Morey who had 427 digs during the year, including eight vs. USF.
The Bulls are facing a tough test in this game against the Irish, but in a single-elimination tournament, anything can heppn. The winner of this game faces the winner of the Marqutte vs. Pittsburgh game on Saturday afternoon.