Oct. 22, 2010
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By Sarah Tarasewicz
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Behind a career performance by Kristin Fisher (Clearwater, Fla.), the UCF volleyball team posted a thrilling five-set victory, 3-2 (16-25, 25-20, 28-26, 23-25, 15-12), over visiting UAB Friday night in Conference USA action at The Venue at UCF. The Knights improved their record to 11-10 on the year and 4-5 in league play with the win.
"It is definitely exciting to be able to do something that you work really hard on in practice," Fisher said. "We played a lot of 15-point sets this week and to be able to come out here and execute that tonight was exciting for all of us. This match really got our adrenaline going."
Fisher hit .225 with a career-best 26 kills, while adding 10 digs, two block solos and a critical service ace to register her ninth double-double of the season, help the Black and Gold to its fourth C-USA win in the team's last five matches and guide her squad to its first win over UAB since 2005.
"I don't think I could even articulate how pleased I am or how big of a win this is for our program," head coach Todd Dagenais said following the match. "Not only does it mean that we have won four out of our last five conference matches, but now we beat another team that we had not previously beaten since I've been here."
Sophomore Evija Vilde (Riga, Latvia) and redshirt freshman Angelica Crump (Atlanta, Ga.) also totaled double-digit kills for the Black and Gold, with Vilde posting 15 kills, two service aces and three digs and Crump adding 12 kills and a block.
A main reason for such high offensive numbers in the match was the play of junior Rachel Vukson (Oakville, Ont.). The setter dished out 57 assists and had 10 digs, three blocks and two kills on her way to her fourth double-double of the year. With her leadership, UCF out-killed the Blazers (5-16, 2-7 C-USA), 70-66, in the contest.
"The atmosphere tonight was amazing and it made such a huge difference in the match," Vukson said. "When we play on the road it seems like we only have our teammates behind us, but when we play at home it is so great to know that our fans are supporting us too."
Combined with Fisher and Vukson's outings, the Black and Gold had four players post double-digit digs in the victory, with Meredith Murphy (Austin, Texas) leading all players with 24 digs and Roxy Mendez (Orlando, Fla.) adding 10 digs.
After falling in the opening set, the Knights bounced back to win the second and evened the match, 1-1. The home squad jumped out to a 5-2 lead on a service ace from Vilde and never gave up its advantage, leading by as many as seven points two different times throughout the set.
The third set was a hard-fought battle between the league-foes, with the two teams trading leads five different times and tying the score on 12 different occasions. The Knights took a three-point lead, 6-3, early in the set, but an 11-4 run from the Blazers put the Black and Gold in a four-point hole. A kill and a block from Tory McCutcheon (Milton, Ont.), two UAB errors and a kill from Fisher brought the Knights back into the set and evened the score, 15-15. Following two more ties, UCF was once again playing from behind, 20-23, before kills from Vilde and Crump and a Mendez service ace knotted the score 23-23 and forced UAB to take a timeout. Three more ties followed, with the final coming at 26-26, before a critical Blazer service error and a kill from Fisher concluded the set and gave the Black and Gold a 2-1 advantage in the match.
UAB once again evened the match 2-2 with a victory in the fourth set and set the contest into a decisive fifth set. That is when the Knights shined. Behind the serving of Mendez and two kills from Fisher, UCF stormed out to an early 4-1 lead. The Blazers would come back to even the score, 5-5, on a 4-1 run and from there the two teams would tie six more times. But it was UCF who came out on top tonight, as two kills from Fisher and one from Vilde capped off a 3-0 Black and Gold run to seal the victory.
UCF returns to the court Sunday with a 1 p.m. league match-up vs. Memphis at The Venue at UCF.
Season tickets are now available for purchase for only $30 online at UCFAthletics.com or by calling the UCF Athletics Ticket Office at (407) UCF-1000. The Knights are set to host 13 regular-season matches at The Venue at UCF this season, which includes 10 Conference USA contests.