USF volleyball begins the 2014-15 season

Posted: August 29, 2014 in Volleyball

Game on.

Here we go, the 2014-15 season is here. The USF Bulls are coming off of a 17-15 (11-7) season last year, their second straight 17-15 season. Coach Draper, returning AAC player of the year in Erin Fairs, and a loaded roster are looking to get the season off to a big start but are facing a tough challenge with two games in one day against two teams that made the NCAA tournament last here. Let’s check out Purdue and LSU as the season begins.

The first game of the day comes against Purdue (game begins at 10 AM). Purdue went 23-12 (11-9) last season and made it to the Elite 8 of the NCAA tournament last year. The Boilermakers did lose several players from last year’s squad and added 7 freshman to the roster, but don’t be fooled, they are still an elite team that will prove to be a huge first challenge for the Bulls.

Purdue is led by redshirt sophomore middle blocker Faye Adelaja (6’1″) who played in 131 sets last year, recording 176 kills, 12 digs, and 146 blocks at the net. Senior setter/outside hitter Val Nichol (6’1″) played in 131 sets adding 363 kills, 790 assists (yeesh!), 21 service aces, and added 85 blocks. Nichol is a major part of the offense and someone that will have to be watched while setting up for the kill. Junior outside hitter Annie Drews (6’4″) played in 124 sets last year, adding 244 kills, 3 service aces, 33 digs, and added 72 blocks. Junior defensive specialist Amanda Neill (5’8″) playing in 127 sets, adding 1 kill, 30 assists, 32 service aces, and added 245 while patrolling the center of the court.

This is going to be a very tough first game for the Bulls. Purdue still has a very strong returning nucleus from their great 2013 season and will push the Bulls to the edge in the first game of the year. This will be a great way for the Bulls to see where they stand as a club after the first game as they prepare for the second game of the day against LSU (game begins at 5 PM, they play San Diego before facing the Bulls).

LSU went 19-13 (8-10) last season, making it to the 2nd round of the NCAA tournament and will be another big time early season challenge for the Bulls.

Junior outside hitter/right side hitter Cati Leak (6’2″) played in 122 sets last season, adding 395 kills, 27 assists, 11 service aces, 300 digs, and 57 blocks. She is a big time hitter that will be tough to deal with at the net. Sophomore middle blocker Briana Holman (6’1″) played in 130 sets last year adding 391 kills, 27 digs, and 200 blocks, making her another big time striker at the net with Leak (tough to deal with). Senior setter Malorie Pardo (5’10”) played in 134 sets, adding 70 kills, 1399 assists (yeesh once more), 24 service aces, 355 digs, and 85 blocks. She is a huge defensive player that also is the center of the offense for the Tigers and will feed Leak and Holman all game long. Junior defensive specialist Haley Smith (5’4″) played in 126 sets, adding 3 kills, 55 assists, and 500 digs, joining up with Pardo and controlling the center of the court.

This is going to be another tough test, the second of the day. The Bulls will need to come out sharp in this game if they want to stand a chance. We will really get a feel for where this team is after this game and the game earlier against Purdue.

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