Dons set themselves up for success

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The women’s volleyball team saw a rollercoaster of a season’s start, with thrilling climbs marked by sudden drops of disappointing losses. The journey has not been as smooth as this young, talented team had initially expected.

 

After a stellar season opener against the University of Nevada, Reno, where our Dons left with a 3-0 victory, the team recorded losses for the remainder of the Battle of the Bay tournament. Despite a respectable number of kills and assists, the Dons recorded 21 errors per game against both Fresno and San Jose State. Overall, it seems that the Dons simply couldn’t get their hitting percentage above .108 — their high throughout the tournament.

The 1-2 record the Dons amassed in their first tournament does little to reflect the immense talent and growth the team has seen to this point. Freshman outside hitter Erica Ronda has found immediate success with the Dons, earning 10+ kills in multiple games and earning herself a spot as a potential powerhouse. With so much promise displayed already, our eyes will definitely be on the rising talent as we progress through remainder of the season.

9/9/17: USF WVB vs Fresno State at War Memorial Gym in San Francisco, CA. Image by Chris M. Leung for USF Dons Athletics

After the Battle of the Bay, the team then made their way to North Dakota to compete against Florida A&M, Northern Colorado and North Dakota State in the NDSU Classic. This tournament brought the Dons another disappointing set of losses despite incredible effort. Erin Anthony, a freshman setter, led the team in assists for Games 2 and 3 (with 23 and 33, respectively), and the Dons surpassed all three teams in total attempts per game. However, they once again fell short in hitting percentage, leaving them to return to the Bay with an overall 1-6 record.

 

While much attention has been given to the freshman talent on the team, Nora Buvarp Lavik, a senior right side hitter, continued to establish herself as a tried and true talent during the NDSU Classic. The Norwegian powerhouse, Lavik, was the only Don honored with All-Classic Team accolades with 10 kills throughout the tournament and a hitting percentage of .286 throughout. Suffice to say, Lavik has made USF proud on the road.

 

After a long string of away games, a weekend at War Memorial seems to have been just what the Dons needed to break their losing streak. On Friday and Saturday, they took on CSUN and Fresno State, winning both games 3-2. The thrill of this weekend will help propel the team toward more wins as the season goes on.

 

Looking ahead, the Dons will be competing in the UCI/LBSU Invitational, heading to Irvine to meet with Bakersfield and UC Irvine on Friday before travelling up for a match against Long Beach State on Sept. 16. The Dons will then return to home soil for matches against University of San Diego and BYU.

 

Despite their less-than-stellar season start, the Dons have much to be proud of in their work ethic and their individual performances. From an All-Tournament title to the ability to rise up from the ashes of a seemingly hopeless losing streak, the team has shown resilience and an irrepressible spirit. With a wealth of opportunity to reclaim the exhilaration of their season opener lying ahead, and the talent to back it, there is no doubt that the Dons will continue to bounce back.

 

Photo: USF celebrated a victory over Fresno St (donsathletics/Flickr)

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