Sept. 23, 2012
By Andrew Jennette
NEW ORLEANS, La. (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF volleyball team bounced back on Sunday afternoon as it defeated Tulane, 3-1 (25-23, 25-23, 21-25, 25-19) to earn its first conference road victory of the season. The Knights (4-10, 1-1) snapped a six-match losing streak with the victory.
The Black and Gold came out on top after an overall even matchup. The Knights and Green Wave (3-11, 1-2) were square in kills (52) and assists (48) with the Knights holding just a 54-53 advantage in digs. The winning edge for UCF came in the serve and receive game as they picked up eight service aces compared to just three for Tulane.
UCF played without head coach Todd Dagenais, who did not travel with the team after being hospitalized following Friday's match. Dagenais was released from the hospital on Sunday and is expected to rejoin the team for practice early next week.
"With all the outside distractions we had coming into this match, I felt like our team handled themselves with great maturity," acting head coach Michelle Chatman said. "We knew coming into this match that it was going to take a total defensive effort to win it and we came up with a season high in total blocks and a high number of digs as well."
""I think we played with a lot of composure and energy which is what you have to have to be successful on the road," Chatman continued. "With Todd not being there, it felt like the odds were against us, but we handled it in a very mature way."
UCF will wrap up the month of September as it hits the road again, traveling to Marshall and East Carolina next Friday and Sunday. This is the first of three away weekends for the Knights in conference play.
The Black and Gold were led offensively by redshirt junior Angelica Crump who blasted a team-high 15 kills. Crump was backed by sophomore Ashley Gialenios who picked up 13 kills and six digs. Senior Tory McCutcheon had an efficient outing as she picked up four kills on a perfect 1.000 hitting percentage. McCutcheon added a team-high five blocks as the Knights set a new season mark with 12 on the day.
The Knights broke through and snapped a 16-set skid by taking the first set, 25-23, behind five kills from Crump and another four from senior Evija Vilde. UCF put together five-consecutive points midway through the set to take a 16-11 lead it would not relinquish. Redshirt sophomore Marie Reiterova showed off her defensive prowess by picking up six of her team-high 16 digs along with three of her 22 assists en route to her team-leading sixth double-double of the season.
Trailing 16-12 in the second frame, UCF showed off their will to win as they rallied behind three-consecutive kills from Crump to get the match within one. The Black and Gold still trailed 21-20, but a timeout helped settle the team as they came back with five of the next seven points, three of them kills by Gialenios, to win the set, 25-23.
After dropping the third set, 25-21, the Knights came out with a purpose in set four and sprinted out to a huge 16-5 advantage before coasting to win the set, 25-19, and the match 3-1. Gialenios picked up five kills in the stanza and was backed by four kills from Crump and three from sophomore DeLaina Sarden.