Trouncing Tulane

NEW ORLEANS, La. (UCFKnights.com) - The UCF volleyball team bounced back on Sunday with a 3-1 victory on the road at Tulane (25-12, 25-20, 23-25, 25-23).

The Knights (11-11, 4-6) posted a season-high .377 hitting percentage and the fewest errors in four-set match this year with 10.

UCF was paced by a trio in double-figure kills, led by Kia Bright. The redshirt senior was sensational on Sunday with 17 kills on a .350 clip at the net. Bright added 14 digs for her 14th double-double of the campaign. Kristina Fisher and Alli Sabol were relentless in the attack, tallying 15 and 13 kills, respectively.

Miranda Watkins and Erin Olson set up the offense all afternoon with 50 combined assists.

Defensively, the Black and Gold never allowed the Tulane (12-9, 1-9) attack to get into a rhythm. The Green Wave only mustered a .148 hitting percentage.

Powered by Taylor Wickey's seven blocks, the Knights sent a season-high 13 balls back over the net. Four players finished with multiple rejections. Libero Jordan Pingel was everywhere on the back row, keeping powerful Green Wave attacks from hitting the floor. The native of Colorado Springs, Colo., had a season-high 25 digs on Sunday.

The UCF offense was on point in the opening set with an errorless .550 hitting percentage. Bright, Taylor Wickey, Fisher and Anne-Marie Watson tallied multiple kills. After trading points early, the Knights rolled on a 19-7 run to close the set. The Black and Gold held the Tulane attack to an -.034 clip

The second set was a much tighter affair. The Knights could only create a three-point gap, but the hosts shaved the lead down to one at 18-17. UCF closed the frame on a 7-3 run, propelled by two blocks. The Black and Gold was efficient on offense with a .448 clip and one error.

Tulane battled back to erase a five-point UCF lead in the third. The Knights took a 22-20 lead, but the hosts rallied to score five of the final six points. Bright led the offense with seven kills in the set.

After taking a 3-2 lead in the fourth, the Knights maintained their advantage before the Green Wave tied it up at 19-19. The Black and Gold regained the lead for good on a Fisher kill and solo block from Wickey. Fisher, Sabol and Bright hammered four kills apiece to finish the match.

Opening thoughts...
"This was just a much-needed win. Having played so many matches decided by a swing or two, it was great to have this battle and come up big. I think this was really important as we lock up the first half of conference play and move on to the all important second half."

On the offensive performance...
"Offensively, I thought Jenny Maurer put together a great game plan. When I was looking at the box score through the first two sets, we were hitting close to .500 with one error. That's the first time we've done that all year. We were doing a lot of great things. I think the setters were making great decisions. The hitters were assertive and finding their shots. They were out there to win. I love seeing that attitude out of our attackers.

"On the flip side, I thought we did a decent job of keeping their offense in check. When got to the fourth set, they had 18 kills, so they weren't ready to go down. I thought we stayed with them and remained composed. Kristina Fisher took some huge swings down the stretch for us. That shows the great growth for her to take those big swings at that point in the match. That's something she can build on."

On bouncing back in the fourth set...
"I think it was a matter of us breaking it down of us breaking it down and playing it point by point. We have this mini game of getting three points in a row. We want to get a side out and two service points. We want to try and create as many of those as we can. We know if we can create three of those in each set we have a pretty good chance of winning. We did that early on and built up enough of a lead. When Tulane came back, we were right with them or ahead of them. We were able to take the game-winning swing instead of them."

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