Dons Undefeated Season Continues at San Francisco Challenge

John Holton
Staff Writer

The Dons defended their so-far perfect season at the San Francisco Challenge this past Friday and Saturday with wins over Yale, Cal State Fullerton, and North Dakota State. USF started out on Friday against Yale, who they defeated handily 3-0. They put away Cal State Fullerton in similar fashion in their first game on Saturday, before besting North Dakota State 3-1 to win the challenge.

Despite only stealing one set from the Dons, North Dakota State still proved to be their biggest challenge of the weekend. In the first set the Dons were outplayed by the Bisons, losing 16-25 to start the match 0-1. State had 15 kills with just three attack errors compared to the Dons’ 10 kills and six attack errors.

Luckily USF was not discouraged by State’s early lead and bounced back hard in the next three sets. The Bisons came close to securing the second set as well and a 2-0 lead, but the Dons ultimately edged them out 25-22. The Dons played carefully, keeping their errors to just five while racking up 18 kills. The next set was even closer, but the Dons managed to pull away and win by a narrow 25-23 margin. USF’s stats for this set were nearly identical to the last, with 17 kills and only five errors again, but State kept it close with just three errors of their own. In the final set the Dons showed that they were truly a force to be reckoned with, decimating their opponent 25-14. USF managed to hold State to just five kills compared to their 18.

Overall, the Dons notched 63 kills on a .258 attack percentage while containing State by only allowing 44 kills on a .190 attack percentage. Junior Katarina Pilepic led the team in kills with 24, followed by freshman Madison Murtagh and senior Courtney Sabahi, who each had 10. Murtagh was first in two other categories with five blocks and one ace, respectively.

Earlier that day the Dons faced off against Cal State Fullerton in what was a much easier matchup. USF put away the Titans in three straight sets with victories of 25-17, 25-12, and 25-22. Pilepic led in kills once again with 15. Senior Jurja Vlasic had two aces to lead in that category and sophomore Oluoma Okaro tied for first in blocks with Sabahi, with both notching three apiece.

The previous day USF breezed to an easy victory over Yale in three straight sets of 25-13, 25-14, and 25-21. Once more, Pilepic lead the way in kills with 10, and Murtagh and Okaro each had two blocks. Sophomore Kim Gutierrez had the most aces on the team with two.

These three matchups bring the Dons’ overall record to 13-0. They will be at home for their next two games with a match against BYU on Sep. 24, followed by San Diego on Sep. 26.

Photo courtesy of Ashley Moffett/Foghorn

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