Team rides winning streak into weekend

Friday’s opponent, South Florida, comes into the match having lost seven of its last nine conference games, including its most recent, a 3-1 loss to UAB.

The next night, UAB comes calling, having won four of its last five C-USA battles.

In action last weekend, senior captain Gemma Greer left Friday’s match with Houston early due to an ankle injury. In her place, junior Sarah Vernon stepped in and helped lead the Golden Eagles to victories on Friday and Saturday.

Even though both opponents are headed in opposite directions, this does not alter the team’s mindset going into the weekend, according to head coach Pati Rolf.

“We’re trying not to stress that now,” she said. “That is bad information for them because sometimes when you tell them that the team they’re playing is not doing too well they might take them lightly.”

Greer will be ready for action Friday, but Vernon’s performance last weekend impressed Rolf.

“Sarah’s leadership impressed me last weekend,” she said. “When Gemma went down with the injury, Sarah got right up and said, ‘Let’s go.’ Sarah stepped in and nobody even worried about it. It was almost like everybody said, ‘Oh, its Sarah. We’re fine.’ Sarah’s maturity level really helped us out. ”

Leading the way for the Golden Eagles this season has been sophomore Theresa Coughlin, who tops the team in points and kills.

According to Rolf, Coughlin’s maturity has been elevated this season.

“Last season, Theresa would get upset easily on the court,” Rolf said. “She is an extremely emotional and intense player, and last season she would get upset with the little things on the court. This season, she does not let the little things bother her. It is as if she maintains a high level of intensity all of the time.”

Friday also marks Senior Night for the Golden Eagles, when Ann Lopata and Greer will be honored. Each has brought something different to the team this year, according to Rolf.

“Without Lopata we would not be where we are this year,” she said. “She has brought so much to the middle position with her maturity. She is a very emotional and stable force for the team.

“Gemma is just a tremendous competitor. She has really brought an element of excitement to the team. When she got hurt against Houston, she was right on the sidelines cheering on the team. She is a very unselfish player.”