Nov. 21, 2010
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By Sarah Tarasewicz
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (UCFAthletics.com) - Kristin Fisher (Clearwater, Fla.) and Nichole Riedel (Denver, Colo.) combined for 34 kills but it was not enough as the UCF (14-16, 7-11 C-USA) volleyball team fell to UAB, 3-1 (18-25, 25-21, 23-25, 25-27), Sunday afternoon at Bartow Arena in Conference USA action.
"The effort was there for us to win today," head coach Todd Dagenais said. "A consistent level of execution from first point to last point was what we didn't have in this one. It was every bit the battle we knew it was going to be. We knew we had to play hard and play well to win. We definitely played hard and there were times when we played well enough to win. We had our opportunities and they took advantage of their opportunities a little better than we did."
Fisher led the Knights' offense against the Blazers (11-19, 8-10 C-USA) with 18 kills, while also posting 13 digs and two blocks for her 12th double-double of the year, and Riedel hit .306 with 16 kills and paced the defense with four blocks.
The Canadian duo of sophomore Tory McCutcheon (Milton, Ont.) and junior Rachel Vukson (Oakville, Ont.) totaled six blocks at the net defensively, while Meredith Murphy (Austin, Texas) paced the squad in the back court with 20 digs. Dani Harrison (Tallahassee, Fla.) contributed 14 digs and a service ace and Evija Vilde (Riga, Latvia) matched her career-best with 10 digs to go along with eight kills and a service ace.
Aside from her three blocks, Vukson all posted 47 assists, nine digs and hit .429 with three kills in the defeat.
Each set was hard fought between the two squads, as both the Knights and the Blazers were vying for sole possession of seventh place in league standings in the match. Both squads entered the contest with identical 7-10 league records and were tied for seventh place in C-USA.
After dropping the opening set, 18-25, to the home squad, the Black and Gold bounced back to claim a 25-21 victory in the second set. The Knights and the Blazers tied six different times to open set No. 2, before UCF finally claimed a four-point lead at 14-10 on a kill from Vilde. UAB managed to creep back into the set, however, and evened the score once again at 15-15. Three more even scores would follow, but a kill from Riedel gave the Black and Gold the lead and kick-started a 6-2 run by the Knights which led to the victory.
The two teams came out of intermission knotted at 1-1 in the match, but it was the Blazers who were able to claim wins in the third and fourth sets.
The Knights took an early lead in the third set and even led by as many as five points, holding the advantage through the first 28 points, but UAB evened the score, 16-16, following a 3-0 run. From that point, the Knights and the Blazers evened the score six more times, before the home team strung together a 3-1 run to take a one-set advantage in the match.
The fourth set was the closest of the four, as each team held an advantage at one point or another during the contest. UCF and UAB tied the score 15 times and traded leads eight times during the fourth set, with the Knights having the upper-hand in the latter points, leading 24-23 at the end of the contest and needing only one point to send the contest into the fifth set. An error by the Black and Gold evened the set, 24-24, before a kill from Fisher once again put UCF one point away from the fourth-set victory, 25-24. Three-straight errors by the Knights were costly, however, as they would give the home squad the win in both the set and the match.
UCF travels to UTEP for its final road contest of the season Wednesday, with the match scheduled to get underway at 9 p.m. ET.