HOUSTON, Texas (UCFKnights.com) – The UCF volleyball team wrapped up the road portion of the 2018 regular season on Sunday with a four-set win over Houston. The No. 21 Knights (26-3, 17-0) extended their winning streak to 23 matches, marking a new DI program record.
After a tough first set, in which the Black and Gold committed eight of their 21 errors, UCF flipped the script with three straight frames with an attack percentage above .200. Kristina Fisher led a trio of Knights in double-figure kills with 17.
In the back row, Jordan Pingel and McKenna Melville totaled matching 23-dig performances, as the Knights held the Cougars under .200 in every frame. For Melville, it was her 20th double-double of the year. Amber Olson also tallied a double-double with a career-high 44 assists and 15 digs.
Nerissa Moravec was an absolute wall at the net. The redshirt sophomore recorded eight block assists, as the Knights totaled 11 rejections on the afternoon. Anne-Marie Watson sent five balls back over the net.
The Knights took an early lead in the set, which grew to as many as four at 14-10 after an ace by Pingel. The hosts clawed back into the frame, tying it at 23-23. Kathryn Wesolich helped the Black and Gold stave off set point, but the Cougars claimed the first set after back-to-back errors by the Knights. UCF hit a match-low .075.
After dropping the opener, UCF rolled in the second. A two-point lead quickly grew to seven after a five-point run to make it 15-8. From that point on, Houston could only cut the gap down to five points. The Black and Gold scored the final three points on a Fisher kill and a pair of errors by Houston. The Knights spread the attack around with five players recording a pair of kills, as the visitors tallied a .310 attack percentage. Moravec picked up four of her stops in the set.
Out of the break, the Knights used a seven-point stretch to take a commanding 11-4 lead, before extending it to 17-9. Houston made a late push, but a kill by Fisher closed out the frame and put the Black and Gold ahead 2-1 for the match. Melville took over in the third with five kills and 12 digs. Fisher also helped the offense churn to a .289 clip with seven kills and no errors.
The Cougars battled back in the fourth set. The Knights found themselves trailing for the majority of the game, including a four-point deficit at one point. Down by four late in the game, UCF went on a 6-0 run to rally and take the match. Fisher and Melville posted 12 of UCF’s 18 kills in the final frame.
NOTES TO KNOW
>> Already the career leader, Jordan Pingel needs just 14 digs to have the most digs in a single season in program history.
>> Wesolich now has 129 block assists on the season. The rookie needs 14 more assisted rejections to break the single-season program record.
>> Pingel has now recorded at least 20 digs in 16 matches this year, including 12 over her last 14 contests.
>> The program record for longest winning streak is 55 matches set in 1978.
The Knights will wrap up the regular season on Wednesday night against South Florida. UCF has a chance to complete the season sweep of the Bulls and add three more points in the War On I-4.
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