DALLAS (SMU) – Abbey Bybel scored a career-high 17 kills for the third time, but USF upset the SMU volleyball team 3-1 (25-20, 25-23, 23-25, 25-22) in Moody Coliseum Wednesday afternoon. It is just the second home loss the Mustangs (26-5, 16-3 American Athletic Conference) have suffered this season, and the first time since 2013 SMU dropped back-to-back matches.
SMU trailed by just one in the fourth set, 13-12, but USF used a 5-1 run to take an 18-13 lead. The Mustangs cut the lead to two on four different occasions down the stretch, but Denise Belcher scored her 17th kill of the match to give the Bulls a 25-22 win in the fourth for the victory.
Bybel hit .311 with just three errors, and was one of four Mustangs with at least 10 kills in the match. Katie Hegarty scored 13 kills with one error, hitting .480. Cailin Bula and Janelle Giordano each scored 11 kills. Avery Acker recorded her 16th double-double of the season with 57 assists and 11 digs, and Morgan Heise recorded 25 digs. SMU hit .282 as a team with 65 kills. USF (11-20, 8-11 The American) scored 69 kills with a .286 attack percentage.
In the third set, it was the Mustangs overcoming a late deficit, winning 25-23 to avoid what would have been the first sweep at home since Oct. 4, 2013 against Louisville. Trailing 22-19, SMU out-scored the Bulls 6-1, scoring on five kills during the stretch. Bybel had five kills in the set, taking her match total to 15, and Heise had nine digs. SMU hit .349 with 18 kills as a team. Neither team led by more than two points until USF took the three-point lead.
The Bulls hit .324 with 16 kills in the first set, winning 25-20. SMU took a 7-2 lead to start the
set, scoring five of its 15 kills, but the Bulls came back to take a 9-8 lead. The score was tied just once more, 9-9, but the Mustangs were not able to reclaim the advantage. Bybel led the SMU offense with five kills, and the Mustangs hit .237 as a team in the set.
USF held on for a 25-23 win in the second set to take a 2-0 lead in the match. The Mustangs scored the first five points of the set, and led 14-9 before USF went on a 4-1 run to cut the lead to two, 15-13. The Bulls took their first lead of the set, 20-19, in the midst of a 4-0 run, taking a 22-19 lead. SMU couldn’t recover in time, falling 25-23. Hegarty had six of SMU’s 19 kills in the set, and Bybel had five for the Mustangs.
SMU hosts UCF in the regular-season finale Friday at 1 p.m. A ceremony to honor the program’s three seniors will take place after the match. SMU, which secured an NCAA Tournament bid by clinching sole possession of the regular-season title, will host a selection show watch party at the Miller Club in Moody Coliseum Sunday at 7 p.m.