Oct. 13, 2013
By Andrew Jennette
LOUISVILLE, Kentucky (UCFKnights.com) - The UCF volleyball team got off to a great start on Sunday afternoon as it took the opening frame against conference-leading Louisville, but it was unable to maintain the momentum as the Cardinals rallied back for a 3-1 victory (25-23, 23-25, 18-25, 20-25) at the KFC Yum! Center.
The Knights (13-5, 4-1 The American) put on a good show in front of a nationally-televised ESPNU audience, but were hit by the Cardinals (10-6, 6-0), .202-.166 overall. The Black and Gold were able to top Louisville in attack percentage in the first and second sets, but the Cardinals found their footing defensively in the third and fourth frames to seize control of the match.
"I thought Nicki (Holmes) and Michelle (Chatman) did a great job of preparing the team for this match," UCF head coach Todd Dagenais said. "It's very difficult to prepare to play the top team in the conference in their arena on national TV. There were a lot of factors today that a lot of our players weren't used to. I thought that preparation showed in the first two sets. Winning the second set would have completely changed the complexion of the match."
The Knights had five players crack double-digit digs, led by 22 from junior libero Jade Hayes. Freshman Taylor Gallart tied her career-high with 11 digs child chipping in two service aces and seven kills. Junior setter Marie Reiterova made her first start since September 27 and responded with a 44 assist, 14 dig double-double. The double dip was Reiterova's eighth of the season and fifth in a row.
"I thought Marie did really well early on," Dagenais continued. "I thought she faded off a little bit towards the end. She took a hard shot to head in the third set and I thought that was a pivotal point in the match because after that our offensive numbers started to slowly trend downward. I thought she did a really great job in the first two sets though."
Senior outside hitter Angelica Crump led the way offensively for the Knights with 16 kills on 49 swings for a .245 attack percentage. Juniors DeLaina Sarden and Loren Cory pitched in with 11 and 10 kills respectively. Defensively, Kaye-Alese Green once again shined with 7 combined blocks, increasing her team lead to 77 in 68 sets played.
UCF concludes its four-match road trip with a trip to Texas next weekend. The Knights kick off action on Friday at 8 p.m. against Houston and will wrap up the weekend with a 2 p.m. match in Dallas against SMU.