GAINESVILLE, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) – For the first time since 2011, UCF Volleyball took down a ranked opponent in a 3-1 win over No. 7 USC Saturday night at the Bubly Invitational. UCF was led by Kristina Fisher, who had a game-high 20 kills. Erin Olson had a double-double with 28 assists and 22 digs.
UCF (3-2) held the advantage in almost every category as they handed USC their first loss of the 2018 season. The Knights tallied 66 total kills on 183 attacks, while recording four blocks, 81 digs, and 64 assists.
In 2011, the Knights swept then-No. 3 USC in Fort Myers where the Women of Troy were coming off an NCAA Final Four appearance in 2010 and would eventually reach the 2011 Final Four later than season.
The Knights hit .351 with a trio of players in double figures led by Evija Vilde and Angelica Crump with 15 scores apiece, while the Black and Gold held the USC offense to .135 hitting. The sweep was one of only five losses the Women of Troy suffered in 2011.
Head Coach Todd Dagenais is no stranger to USC as he spent three years there as an assistant before coming to UCF.
The Knights were neck and neck with the Trojans for the first six points as each squad took turns taking the lead. But when the score hit 7-6 in favor of the Knights, they never looked back. UCF took the first set with a commanding score of 25-18 with Fisher pacing the Knights with four kills while Melville dominated on defense with seven digs.
The Black and Gold fell behind in the early going but chipped away at the lead until they were able to push out in front, 23-22 for their first lead of the set. The Knights capitalized on USC errors to take the lead and the second set, 26-24.
USC took control in the third set as they never trailed, but UCF held the advantage in attack attempts. USC won the set, 25-12, but the Knights came out again in the fourth and final set.
The Knights never trailed in the fourth set as an upset lingered in the air. The entire set was close as USC never trailed by more than three points at any time. A .404 hitting percentage led the Knights to victory with 47 attempts and just four errors. UCF’s 23 kills were led by Melville, Fisher, and Watson to help secure the Knights’ upset.
- Fisher led all players on the court with 20 kills.
- Melville recorded a double-double with 15 kills and 13 digs, while also grabbing an ace for the Knights.
- Jordan Pingel and Erin Olson held down the defense for the Black and Gold registering 46 digs between the pair.
- Kathryn Wesolich hit .571 converting four of her seven attacks.
On what it means to get the win…
We just did something the whole nation is going to be talking about this week. It is one of those historical wins that this program will be talking about for years. This is probably the biggest win that I’ve ever had at UCF and it’s hard to exactly put into words how great of a feeling this is.
USC is a tremendous school and I have great memories from my three years as an assistant coach there before coming to UCF. I respect USC and it was an honor to be able to compete with them and even more so to get a victory.
To be able to go out there with a young group and to have them face an opponent like USC so early in the season and be able to play a steady match, it’s difficult to explain how big of a deal that is. In volleyball, you have to beat someone three times to get the victory, which makes a win like this even more special.
On the team’s resiliency…
Something that is really special about this team is that they are resilient and don’t get rattled easily. There were times we were down a few points but there was ever panic in anyone’s eyes. When you are playing a team that has been in Final Fours so many times, you have to go out there and you have to play to win and put yourself in a position to win. I thought we really did a nice job taking the game to them and putting them on the defensive side of the ball.
On the help from the coaching staff…
Brian Doyon studied more film and studied USC live more than anybody in preparation for this match. This was his game plan, ideas, lineup, and changes tonight. Everything you saw out there, Brian was the architect behind it and the team did a great job executing the vision. Jenny Maurer has been working with the offense and running plays needed to beat teams like USC. TJ Read did a fantastic job getting video together, so I really do give all the credit to my assistants. They found the little things we needed to change in order to win tonight.
On his message to the team…
Right now, we are not so interested in who we are playing. With it being so early and having such a young team, our focus us on us getting better and asking ourselves if we are executing this the way we want. Today, we showed that we are getting better and that we can compete. We are resilient, we are growing, and we are headed in the right direction.
The Knights continue action at the Bubly Invitational on Sunday with a 3:30 p.m. match against No. 4 Florida. The match will stream on SEC Network Plus.
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