Oct. 31, 2010
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By Sarah Tarasewicz
TULSA, Okla. (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF volleyball team had a hard time getting its offense rolling as it fell to Tulsa, 3-0 (9-25, 16-25, 16-25), Sunday afternoon in Conference USA action at the Donald W. Reynolds Center.
"I am proud of the fact that we kept Tulsa down around their season averages in all categories, but I am frustrated that we could not get our offense going at a level that is acceptable for this program until the third set," head coach Todd Dagenais said. "There is no excuse for coming out like that, especially when starting fast and early is a quality that this program needs to have. I expected that we had a chance to beat these guys today, yet Tulsa made sure that that wasn't going to happen. I give them a lot of credit and respect for how they played this match."
The loss dropped the Knights' record to 12-12 on the season and 5-7 in league play, while the Golden Hurricane improved to 23-2 overall and 13-0 in conference action, while also winning its 22nd-consecutive contest to break the C-USA record.
"Congratulations to Tulsa for breaking the C-USA record for most wins in a row," Dagenais continued. "Those types of things don't happen because you are an average team, they happen because you are a great team, and Tulsa could be competitive in any league in the country."
Kristin Fisher (Clearwater, Fla.), Tory McCutcheon (Milton, Ont.) and Angelica Crump (Atlanta, Ga.) each had five kills in the contest to pace the UCF offense, while Fisher added a team-best 10 digs defensively.
Vukson not only aided the Knights in the back court, but the setter also had 17 assists, three blocks and a kill in the loss, and Nichole Riedel (Denver, Colo.) also posted three blocks for the Black and Gold.
After struggling offensively in the opening the set, the Knights finally found some rhythm midway through the second, but it was not enough as the Golden Hurricane sent UCF to the locker room trailing by two sets. In that second set, the Knights fell into a 10-point hole before putting together a 7-1 run to pull within five points of the home team, 12-17. During the run, the visiting squad was aided by four Tulsa miscues, a pair of kills from McCutcheon and a Fisher service ace. But, the Golden Hurricane offense turned it on late to close out the set.
Following the conclusion of the second set, McCutcheon was hitting .571 with four kills to pace the UCF offense, while Crump had two kills for the visiting Knights.
The Black and Gold hung tight with Tulsa through the first 10 points of the third set thanks to another kill from McCutcheon and kills from Evija Vilde (Riga, Latvia) and Riedel, but the Golden Hurricane went on a 7-1 run to pull ahead of the Knights, 13-5. A kill from Fisher and a block by McCutcheon and Vukson cut Tulsa's lead to six points and kept UCF within striking distance. Back-to-back kills by Crump pulled the visiting team to within five points, 12-17, but it was too little too late for the Knights as Tulsa would go on to win the set, 25-16, and extend its winning-streak to a nation-high 22 matches.
"We knew this wasn't going to be an easy weekend in any shape or form because we were playing two top-50 level programs," Dagenais said. "I think if we look back on the weekend, we are going to look at how we played in the SMU match to give us the true sign of the team that we can be and that we don't judge ourselves as a team or as a program by this match today."
The Knights return to the friendly confines of The Venue at UCF for four-straight matches beginning Nov. 5 with a Friday night match-up vs. Tulane. During the home stretch, the Black and Gold will also take on Southern Miss, Tulsa and SMU, with the contest against the Golden Eagles on Nov. 7 set to air live on Bright House Sports Network.