ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) - The UCF volleyball team put on a defensive display on its return to The Venue on Friday night, sweeping UConn (25-16, 25-18, 25-17).
The Knights (10-9, 3-4) thoroughly dominated on the defensive end, never allowing the Huskies (9-10, 2-5) to hit above .105 in a set. The Black and Gold sent 11.5 balls back over net, led by Taylor Wickey with a season-high seven blocks.
On the offensive end, Kia Bright did not miss a beat. The redshirt senior powered home 13 kills at a .360 hitting clip. Jeanne Westney was big factor in the attack with seven kills, while Kristina Fisher added eight. UCF put on an offensive clinic to the tune of a .330 attack percentage.
The Knights were all over the UConn attack in the first set, forcing the visitors into a match-low -.081 clip at the net. UCF's block was a brick wall with 6.5 rejections in the opener, led by Wickey and Westney with three apiece. The latter and Fisher each pounded four kills through the Huskies' block. Tied at 7-7, the Black and Gold went on an 11-4 run. UConn could not find an answer to the UCF defense, committing four errors, two of them blocks, in the final five points.
UCF traded points through 13-13 in the second, before the hosts rolled off four straight. The Knights closed the frame on a 12-5 streak. Bright unleashed a furious attack on the Huskies with eight of the 11 UCF kills. Fisher chipped in with the other three. Wickey powered the block with four rejections to keep UConn at .000 for the set, as the Black and Gold finished with a .391 attack percentage.
Coming out the break, the Knights took control early. UConn took a 3-2 lead that UCF quickly erased to take an insurmountable 10-5 lead. Wickey and Westney were perfect in the final frame, and Anne-Marie Watson and Alli Sabol joined in the action with four and three kills, respectively. The Knights posted a .441 clip to close their fourth sweep of the year.
The Knights close out their two-match home weekend on Sunday against Temple. The contest will be the Knights' annual Dig Pink match. Fans are encouraged to wear pink to support breast cancer awareness. UCF will wear pinks socks and pink ribbons.
SIGHTS AND SOUNDS
DEFENSE DOMINATES HUSKIES
* Of the Knights' 11.5 blocks, four players recorded multiple block assists.
* UConn's .009 hitting percentage was the lowest total for an opponent since UCF held ECU to a -.030 clip on Oct. 26, 2012.
* Jordan Pingel jumped into double-figure digs in three sets with 11.
Associate Head Coach Jenny Maurer after the match.
On the difference tonight...
"I think it was good to be back home. We were able to feed off that energy. We've been working so hard through that October lull. We've focused on executing our game plan. We're still learning a lot about our team. They were not happy with the result from last weekend. I think it caused them to focus that much more. It was great to see them feed off that energy and accept nothing less than an all-out performance."
On the performance of the middles...
"That's been another key for us. We knew UConn was going to bring a great service game. Kudos to our passers to keep us in system all night. We worked a lot on the relationship between the setters and the middles. It was good to see the fruits of our labor."
On the largest improvement during the conference season...
"Our resiliency in the face of adversity has helped them work through the tough times. Kia was hitting negative through the first set. To finish with .360, it was a testament that she was not going to give up after a bad set. It's keeping a level head and sticking to our game plan when teams make adjustments to us."
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