CINCINNATI, Ohio ? Michelle Collier?s 27 kills led South Florida to a 3-0 win over Cincinnati Friday night, snapping the Bearcats? 12-match winning and ending their chances of a Conference USA championship.
Collier, the preseason C-USA player of the year, hit .392 to lead USF to a .308 team hitting percentage, the highest allowed by UC since a Sept. 10 loss at Western Kentucky. The Bulls held a 64 to 44 advantage in kills and 59 to 40 in digs in winning 30-26, 30-21, 30-28.
UC is now 19-7 overall and 10-2 in C-USA. USF is 26-5, 12-0 and can win the league title with a win at Louisville tomorrow. The Bearcats fall to third place and can clinch the No. 3 seed in the C-USA tournament with a win over UAB on Sunday at 2 p.m.
?They were the better team tonight,? said head coach Reed Sunahara. ?They certainly played like the number one team in the conference. They outhit us, outdug us and out blocked us. We?re not going to win when that happens.?
Two Julie DuPont kills helped UC to a quick 3-1 lead in game one, but Bonnye Glover carded two kills and a block in a 5-1 run that gave USF a 6-3 lead. Collier pushed the lead to 10-5 with a block and a kill.
The lead was seven when the Bearcats mounted a comeback. Bonita Wise sandwiched kills around a block and a Bull error to pull UC within 17-14. The Bearcats lost a chance to get closer when a free ball fell between three players for UC.
UC eventually got within two, 21-19, on a Rachel Torblaa and Leslie Newell block, but USF scored the next three points to push the lead back to five. A Trish Ladusaw kill pulled UC back within two at 25-23 and a Bull error made the score 27-26, but USF scored the next three points, winning the game on a Collier kill.
The Bearcats again took an early two-point lead in game two, but the Bulls pulled ahead 5-4 with a three-point run. The teams traded points until Collier put together two kills around an ace for an 11-8 lead.
The lead was still three when two Corinne Walsh kills spurred a 4-0 run for a 23-16 lead. The Bearcats never got closer than five after that. UC hit only .089 for the game.
Two Collier kills capped a 4-0 run for an 8-4 USF lead in game three. Two DuPont kills and a pair of Bull errors tied the game at 11. The game stayed within one-point until three consecutive USF kills produced a 17-14 lead.
Wise and Ladusaw each had a kill and a block in a 5-1 run that produced a 19-18 UC lead. A DuPont kill and block by Torblaa and Ladusaw gave the Bearcats a 22-20 lead, matching their largest in any game of the match.
Trailing 23-21, USF scored seven of the next nine points, three on kills by Jolene Patton. UC cut the lead to 29-28 on kills by Wise and DuPont, but Collier finished of the match with her final kill.
DuPont led the Bearcats with 13 kills while Wise and Ladusaw each had seven digs and 10 and 11 kills, respectively.
Patton added 17 kills and nine digs for USF and Maryann Mooney had a match-high 20 digs.
Sunday is senior day for UC and co-captains Trish Ladusaw and Bonita Wise will be honored in a post-match ceremony.