By Megan Herboth
TULSA, Okla. - UCF Volleyball closed out its first conference road trip of the season with a 3-1 (25-23, 19-25, 25-20, 25-17) win over Tulsa in the Reynolds Center on Sunday afternoon.
With wins over both SMU and Tulsa this weekend, the Knights (9-5, 2-0 AAC) defeated both the Mustangs and Hurricane on the road in the same season for the first time in program history.
"This marked the end of a historic weekend for UCF Volleyball," UCF head coach Todd Dagenais said. "To go on the road and defeat SMU and Tulsa was huge for us and it marks a milestone for the program."
Tulsa took an early lead, but the Knights slowly chipped away until a kill from sophomore Kia Bright tied the first set at 18. After trading points, senior Loren Cory gave UCF the lead for good and the Knights capitalized with a 25-23 opening set win.
After a back-and-forth battle in the early going, the Hurricane used a six point run late in the second set to even the match at 1-1. The Knights broke up a 19-19 tie in set three with a kill and a block from senior Kaye-Alese Green, who also slammed a hard kill for UCF's set point.
Trailing 12-8 in the fourth set, UCF went on a 15-4 run that featured five blocks from the Knights. Two Tulsa timeouts could not stop the Black and Gold's momentum and senior Marie Reiterova set up a kill for senior DeLaina Sarden for the set and match victory.
Coach Dagenais noted that the Knights really worked on blocking this week, which showed as UCF finished with 12.5 team blocks. Green led UCF with seven total blocks, including a pair of solo blocks. Sarden and Cory both finished with five blocks for the Knights.
UCF started off with a .438 hitting percentage in the opening set and continued the efficiency by hitting above .300 in all four sets. The Knights finished with a .371 hitting percentage as a team.
"Today it was our offense that allowed us to win the match," Dagenais said. "We had a match where we had to fight, knowing that we weren't doing something we're capable of doing. We got over that fact and executed the areas that allowed us to win."
Sophomore Jale Hervey led the Knights with 17 kills while hitting .500 in the match. Green notched 12 kills while hitting .429 on the day. Bright tallied 15 kills for UCF while senior Jade Hayes recorded a match-high 19 digs and served up an ace. Junior Dana Faught finished with 28 assists, and Reiterova tallied 26 assists.
Next up, the Knights return to The Venue for a pair of conference matches next weekend. UCF hosts Temple at 7 p.m. ET on Friday and Connecticut at 2 p.m. ET on Sunday.
UCF Volleyball is presented by Radisson- UCF Area. For more information on how to purchase tickets, visit UCFKnights.com or call 407-UCF-1000.