USF’s women’s volleyball team started the season with two stellar tournament victories and a 6-0 record. Their season began on Aug. 26 against Montana State in their annual Bobcat Classic tournament. After being down two sets, the Dons fought back and won the next three, defeating the Bobcats. Later that day, the Dons took care of the St. Thomas Tommies, sweeping them in three sets.
USF went on to defeat Grand Canyon University the following day, becoming the Bobcat Classic champions. The team also acquired some individual accolades. Second-year Maria Petkova led the team in kills at the end of the tournament and was appropriately named tournament MVP. Along with first-year Abby Wadas who was awarded all-tournament team honors thanks to her great defense.
A week later on Sept. 2, USF won both games of a doubleheader at the Fresno State Invitational with a sweep over Louisiana Tech and a 3-2 win against Seattle University. The next day the Dons defeated Fresno State 3-2, winning the tournament in a back-and-forth battle. Dominant performances from graduate student Claire Crijins and second-year student Shyia Richardson helped the team defeat the Fresno State Bulldogs, with both players combining for 45 of the teams’ 63 kills.
After finishing last season without a win, the team’s impressive start shows how much things can change in one year. When speaking with the Foghorn, fourth-year Orsula Staka mentioned how the team’s bond has grown over the past year along with the younger players becoming more comfortable now with one year under their belts. When talking to Richardson, she too emphasized the great team chemistry along with Wadas who said “it feels like a really good team. Like a family.”
The team’s close relationship has them excited for the rest of the season. Staka and Wadas both said that the team hopes to be fourth in the conference by the end of the year. This year’s West Coast Conference is very strong with BYU, Pepperdine, and USD being ranked in the top 25 nationally but Staka believes the Dons can compete with them. Along with Richardson who hopes to cause some upsets this year. With there being such a high amount of skill in the conference, the rest of the season should surely be exciting.
The team will be traveling to Colorado for games against UC San Diego and Denver on Sept. 16 and Air Force on Sept. 17 before coming back home on Sept. 23 for USF’s first conference game against Santa Clara.
Students can attend all campus games for free with the use of their One Card.
Chase Darden contributed to the reporting in this story