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Bulls’ Comeback Falls Short in Five Set Defeat

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Bulls’ Comeback Falls Short in Five Set Defeat

Senior Denise Belcher totaled a team-high 15 kills, hit .289, and added 12 digs

CHICAGO, Sept. 10, 2016 – The University of South Florida volleyball team (6-2) was defeated 3-2 by UIC (8-0) on Saturday afternoon in the DePaul Invitational. Trailing two sets to none, USF waged a furious comeback to force a fifth set only to see the Flames take the final set and remain undefeated.

UIC won with scores of 27-25, 25-22, 23-25, 17-25, and 15-10.

USF held the early advantage 9-4 in the first set but the Flames surged back to win the opening set.

After losing the second set, the Bulls bench rallied the team back from a 0-2 deficit. Junior right side hitter Priscilla Ehieze (Houston, Texas) fueled the initial effort with five kills in the third set as senior outside hitter Denise Belcher (Apopka, Fla.) posted another four kills in the fourth set victory.

Even at two sets apiece, UIC pulled away midway through the final set to claim the match.


·        Coach Courtney Draper on back-to-back five set matches: “I think our player’s legs were still recovering from playing five sets last night.”

·        Coach Draper on the comeback: “We started slow and really played a great third and fourth set but couldn’t sustain the momentum in the fifth.”

·        Coach Draper on her top performers: “Clara played her best match of the season as Priscilla and Denise came off the bench on fire.”

·        Coach Draper on facing Albany later this evening: “We have the opportunity to redeem ourselves in the last match of the tournament tonight.”

Key Stat:

·        Junior Alex Mendoza (Minneola, Fla.) recorded 52 assists, three shy of tying her career-high.


·        After not playing a fifth set during the team’s first six matches, the Bulls have now competed in a fifth set twice in the last day and a half.

·        Senior outside hitters Dakota Hampton (Orland Park, Ill.) compiled 16 digs and 10 kills.

·        Junior middle blocker Joli Holland (Dublin, Calif.) also notched 10 kills.

·        Redshirt sophomore Clara Payne (Osteen, Fla.) hit .412, logging nine kills with five block assists.

·        Ehieze finished with eight kills off the bench.

Up Next:

USF completes the DePaul Invitational with a 5:30 p.m. ET match against Albany. The next Bulls home match will be against Stetson in the USF Invitational on Sept. 16 at 7 p.m. Fans can purchase season, tournament, or single match tickets HERE.

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