Conor McDermott Welch
All was not well in the sunny paradise of Hawaii for the Dons this past weekend. They attended the Outrigger Hotels and Resorts Volleyball Challenge in Oahu from Friday to Sunday, but were unable to win a single one of their three matches. However, senior middle blocker Valentina Zaloznik was still named to an all tournament team for the third consecutive weekend.
On the final day of the tournament, the Dons faced off against No. 22 Hawaii in a competitive match that they ultimately lost 3-1. The two teams played very close in the first set until the Dons ran ahead and never looked back, winning 25-15. The Dons fell narrowly in the next set by a score of 25-22, and that trend continued as they lost the next two sets to end the tournament. Sophomore outside hitter Katarina Pilepic spearheaded USF’s upset bid with 13 kills.
The day before, the Dons played a much more drawn out match in their 3-1 loss to the Utah State Aggies. USF had the Aggies on the ropes a number of times during the four sets, but was unable to deliver the finishing blow. The Dons managed to win the second set 26-24, but were bested in every other one, including heartbreaking 32-30 defeats in the first and fourth sets.
On Friday, USF took on the No. 25 UCLA Bruins. Of all three matches played over the weekend, this was the one the Dons had the least success in, succumbing to the Bruins in straight sets 25-19, 25-13, 25-19.
The Dons started out the season with an impressive 5-0 record, but after this tournament it is now 5-4. USF will look to break its losing streak when it heads to Colorado for the Denver Invitational, which will be held from Sept. 19-20.