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USF women’s volleyball drops two games in Bay Area Invitational

Freshman outside hitter Lana Kutakhina (#18) had one service ace against the Aggies. PHOTO COURTESY OF CHRIS M. LEUNG/DONS ATHLETICS

After playing their first four games of the season on the road, the USF women’s volleyball team returned to the recently renovated Sobrato Center in War Memorial Gym to co-host the Bay Area Invitational alongside the Saint Mary’s College of California Gaels.

The Dons hoped to end their four-game losing streak, but their homecoming celebration was short-lived as they were swept Sept. 10 by a score of 0-3 against the Utah State University Aggies and lost Sept. 11 in four sets (1-3) against the California State University, Bakersfield Roadrunners. 

USF jumped ahead to an early lead against the Aggies, but their momentum was squashed by a pair of 6-0 runs courtesy of their opponents. A service error gave the Aggies the final point of the first set and put them on the board (18-25). The Dons led by as many as six points in the second set, but the Aggies took the lead at 15-16 and never looked back, ultimately winning a tightly contested contest by a score of 22-25. USF trailed throughout the third set and dropped the match 11-25, thus securing the Aggies’ sweep. 

Freshman outside hitter Shyia Richardson led the Dons with 9 kills while freshman setter Aylen Ayub came in with 16 assists. 

The following day did not bring about a change in fortunes for the Dons.

The Roadrunners had a commanding 2-10 lead, but USF’s late offensive surge allowed them to claw their way back into the game. A kill from the Roadrunners sealed the first set for them (19-24). The second set was much more competitive as both teams exchanged the lead on multiple occasions. USF tied the game 24-24 and secured the next two points to split the contest at one game each. 

Despite attempts to keep their opponents within striking distance, the Dons dropped the third set by a score of 15-25. They trailed by as many as 11 points on their way to a 16-25 loss.

Freshman right side Taylor Schein led the Dons with 11 kills, and Ayub once again led her team in assists with 17. 

Looking ahead, USF will jet off on a road trip to face the San Jose State University Spartans Sept. 17 before returning home to host the University of California, San Diego Tritons Sept. 18. 

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