Tripped Up by Tulsa

TULSA, Okla. (UCFKnights.com) - For the third straight weekend in American Athletic Conference action, the UCF volleyball team went to a decisive fifth set. While the previous two matches ended in wins, the Knights (9-8, 2-3) were not able to complete the comeback at Tulsa on Friday night, falling 3-2 (25-18, 22-25, 25-23, 21-25, 15-12)

The Golden Hurricane (8-9, 2-3) outhit the Knights in four sets, but the Black and Gold only allowed the hosts to take a lead larger than three points just once, due in large part to the play of the back row. The UCF defense recorded a season-high 105 digs, the 12th most in a single game in program history.

Led by a career-high 25 from Kristina Fisher, the Knights had five players in double-figure digs - Jordan Pingel (19), Kia Bright (17), Miranda Watkins (16) and Erin Olson (12). Of the 203 Tulsa swings, 10 were turned back at the net, led by a season high from Jeanne Westney with six rejections.

On the offensive end, Bright finished with a team-high 21 kills at a .209 clip at the net for her 11th double-double. Fisher tallied the fourth double-double of her young career with 16 kills.

In the opening game, the Black and Gold was tied with the Golden Hurricane at 11-11, but the hosts opened a lead with a 5-1 run. UCF managed to close to within three at 20-17, but Tulsa finished the frame with five of the next six points.

Westney and Bright teamed up on the block to level the score at 3-3 at the start of the second. Neither side could create more than a two-point lead, as the two clubs traded points through 16-16. A trio of errors by the Golden Hurricane gave the Knights an advantage, but the hosts rallied with a 3-0 stretch of their own.

Tied at 20-20, Bright and Taylor Wickey contributed to three consecutive points for the Black and Gold to take the set. UCF overcame a .243 clip by the hosts in the third.

The back-and-forth battle continued coming out of the break. The Knights' three-point lead at 7-4 was the largest advantage in the set for either club. Coming out of a UCF timeout Westney tied the game up at 23-23, but the Black and Gold committed back-to-back errors to drop the set.

The UCF attack found its rhythm in the fourth. Hitting .269, the Knights never let the Golden Hurricane take the lead. Fisher and Bright combined for 10 of the Black and Gold's 16 kills in the set. Westney and Alli Sabol closed the fourth with a rejection. The defense recorded three blocks and 32 digs in the set.

In the fifth frame, UCF broke a 5-5 deadlock with a Fisher kill, followed by a Wickey, Sabol block. Tulsa sprung back into the lead on a 7-2 run. UCF was far from finished. Down 12-9, the Knights climbed back within one at 12-11. The Golden Hurricane closed out the match on a block assist, followed by back-to-back kills by Emily Thorson.

The Knights will head to Dallas to face SMU on Sunday at 2 p.m.

Never miss any UCF Knights news from your favorite team by downloading the free UCF Knights app right to your iOS or Android phone! The app provides personalized information for men's and women's teams, scores, schedules, loyalty programs and even breaking news.

Follow UCF Volleyball on social media on Facebook (/UCF.Volleyball), Twitter (UCF_Volleyball) and Instagram (UCF.Volleyball).