USA Women’s Gymnastics famously had the “Final Five” in Rio. Now USF Women’s Volleyball has their own spin: the “Super Six (and a Libero).”
Eschewing substitutes as passe, the Bulls won nine of ten sets at the Charlotte Invitational this weekend, defeating Campbell (25-19, 25-19, 25-12), Mercer (24-26, 25-14, 24-12, 25-23), and Charlotte (28-26, 25-13, 25-21) to win the Charlotte Invitational championship.
Senior right side Elyse Panick was named tournament MVP behind 28 kills, 50 digs, 12 blocks, and nine aces across all three matches, and was also honored as American Conference Defensive Player of The Week.
“We were able to get our middles involved off of good serve receive which allowed us to side out quickly. Our chemistry continues to get stronger on the court and our bench continues to help with the energy,” said Panick.
That bench didn’t do much more than cheer in North Carolina, as the Bulls barely substituted for Panick, outside hitters Dakota Hampton and T’ara Austin, middle blockers Joli Holland and Clara Payne, and setter Alex Mendoza. Against Campbell not a single substitution was made.
‘I think it was important for our team to start out strong during the opening weekend to set the tone for the season. It’s tough to prepare for three teams in two days, but our kids executed well,” said head coach Courtney Draper.
Holland was named to the All-Tournament team as well behind a 24-kill, .385 weekend, a nice birthday present as she turned 20 on Friday. Hampton got added to the AAC Weekly Honor roll as well for her 42 kills and 44 digs.
The Bulls outhit all three opponents .249 to .096, and did it with defense via 20.5 digs 2.4 blocks per set.
USF heads back to The Corral for the USF Invitational on Friday the Western Carolina at 1 p.m. and New Mexico at 7:30 p.m. They’ll face Stetson in their weekend finale at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, so swing by before heading to Ray Jay for Towson.