Cutting it Close with UConn

STORRS, Conn. ( - The UCF volleyball team extended its winning streak to four matches on Sunday afternoon with a 3-2 victory at UConn (25-21, 25-19, 28-30, 24-26, 15-13). After winning the first two frames, the Knights (17-13, 10-8) had to wait until the fifth set to close out the match.

However, UCF was flawless in that final frame. The Black and Gold recorded nine kills on 19 swings for a .474 hitting percentage. Despite allowing 11 kills for the Huskies (11-19, 4-14) in the fifth, the Knights forced six UConn attack errors. Kristina Fisher bookended a 4-1 run that put UCF ahead 9-8. The Huskies rallied to tie the game at 12-12, but a Jeanne Westney kill, followed by another strike from Fisher, gave just enough space for the Knights to keep the winning streak alive.

Fisher, who had four kills in the fifth set, was unstoppable at the net with her fourth 20-kill match of the season. The Austin, Texas, native committed just five errors for a .341 hitting percentage. Along with Fisher, Kia Bright, Anne-Marie Watson and Alli Sabol reached double figures in kills. The UCF attack registered 15 or more scoring swings in three sets and hit below .225 in just one frame.

On the defensive side, Jordan Pingel finished with 24 digs, and Erin Olson tallied 12. Bright notched her 20th double-double of the year with 13 digs.

* The Huskies hung with the Knights through the opening stages in the first two sets, but the Black and Gold manufactured a pair of streaks to take control.
* In the first set, the Knights pieced together a pair of four-point rallies to take command. Kills by Bright and Fisher, as well as a Westney rejection gave the UCF a comfortable 21-15 advantage.
* With the second game tied at 14-14, UCF scored eight of the next nine points to give the visitors a 2-0 lead at the break.
* The Knights staved off five set points in the third set, turning to the senior duo of Bright and Taylor Wickey for three of the scores.

* The UCF block set a season high with 14 rejections, which played a major factor in holding UConn under .195 hitting for four sets.
* Jeanne Westney tallied a season-high eight blocks, split between four solos and four assists.
* Fisher matched her career high with three blocks.
* In all, six Knights sent Husky attacks back over the net.

Opening statement...
"One of the toughest things to do is play a match the same weekend after a big upset. You have to hope that you're laser-sharp with the fatigue of that first match and going through a travel day. I have to give a lot of credit to UConn and its eight active players. They fought hard. They forced us to make plays to beat them. When it comes down to it, I loved our mental toughness. We did not play ever point the way we wanted to, but I thought we executed when we needed it most. This is a match we would've lost five weeks ago, bit we did exactly what we needed to do today."

On Kristina Fisher...
She had a big-time weekend for us. She established herself as the L1 of the future. Going on the road late in the season, and playing as well as she did is a tough thing to do for a freshman. She carries us in a lot of ways in the front row. Her blocking got a lot better this weekend. To have a freshman play that well and that smart was a huge help."

On preparing for the War on I-4...
"I don't think this weekend does anything for our matches next week. You can throw out all the records form the season, because this is an independent week on the schedule. The War on I-4 means a lot to both teams, and we want to contribute points to our school. There's a lot going on that we have to prepare for, but we will just have to focus on our game plan and execute the things that we can take care of."

On Jordan Pingel's performance this weekend...
"Jordan was very strong defensively. She made some really good suggestions from the back row. She thought she could have had a few more digs, but she was incredibly steady. She made countless quality digs that let us turn defense into offense, and she was very valuable as our secondary setter."

The War on I-4 week is officially here. The Knights will square off with USF in The Venue on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. Seniors Kia Bright and Taylor Wickey will be honored after the match. On Saturday, the Black and Gold will travel to Tampa to face the Bulls at 7 p.m.

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