The women’s volleyball team is exactly one-third of their way through the West Coast Conference matches. They have played six games and only have 12 left. As of late, the Dons have been suffering from many losses — 10 in a row to be exact.
On Sept. 30, the Dons faced the Gonzaga Bulldogs in the War Memorial Gym. The Dons came out strong, winning the first two sets with significant point leads. However, the Bulldogs came back to win the next three sets, giving them the match. Carly Lowry, sophomore outside hitter and Erica Rhonda, freshman outside hitter, led the Dons with 27 kills between the both of them. Even though the women’s team did not finish in victory, they played strongly and set a new record for offensive attacks, with an attack percentage of 0.538. An attack percentage is the percentage of successful kills made in a number of attempts. This percentage is relatively high, as it suggests that more than half of the offensive attack attempts were successful.
On Oct. 6, the Santa Clara Broncos swept the Dons in a 0-3 set. The Broncos hosted the Dons, and even though the Green and Gold took a loss, the Dons showed impressive blocking performance. USF was able to block nine offensive shots from the Broncos, while they only managed to block out the Dons twice. Marjilojn Oskam, senior middle blocker, was able to execute six of these blocks, setting the overall match high.
The Dons will have a chance to turn this streak around next week when they play Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount. Both of these next games will be in the opposition’s territory. However, the women’s volleyball program has demonstrated patterns that suggest that they are more confident when playing on their home court; they have acquired more W’s when playing at home.
The Dons will travel down to Malibu, Calif. on Oct. 12 to challenge the Pepperdine Waves for the first time this season. Looking at Pepperdine’s season statistics, this will not be an easy feat with 11 victories (out of 18 total games this season) thus far. 11 wins out of 18 games compared to the USF Don’s three wins of 19 total games is a drastic difference.
Following this game, the women’s volleyball team is scheduled to face Loyola Marymount on Oct. 14. The LMU game will also take place in the Los Angeles area; hopefully the fact that it is an away game won’t negatively impact the Don’s performance. The LMU Lions have played a total of 16 games this season, and won 10 of them. Savannah Slattery, sophomore outside hitter, has significantly contributed to the Lion’s success with great offensive skills. Another outstanding player on the LMU team is Meredith Teague, a 6’2” freshman outside hitter.
The women’s volleyball team has two big games ahead of them next weekend, they will need a lot of preparation to maintain resilience over the course of the weekend. Elevated team energy, perseverance and focus will be important throughout both games, especially when their fans will be significantly outnumbered in the oppositions’ home courts.
Featured Photo: Erin Anthony (5) and Marjolijn Oskam (12) go up for the block against Gonzaga/Donsathletics Flickr