ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) – The UCF volleyball team continued its winning ways on Sunday afternoon with a sweep (25-18, 25-14, 25-18) on the road at Memphis. The Knights (12-3, 3-0) outplayed the Tigers (7-9, 0-4) in every statistical category, trailing for just one point in the entire match.
Kristina Fisher was flawless in the attack, as she went for 11 kills on 20 swings for a .550 clip. Middles Kathryn Wesolich were focal points in the offense with a pair of hitting marks above .500. Erin Olson and Amber Olson kept the Memphis defense on its collective toes with 30 combined assists, as the Knights hit .309 on the afternoon.
On the defensive side of the ball, UCF posted eight blocks, all assisted. Moravec turned away five, and Alli Sabol came in to reject a quartet of attacks. Libero Jordan Pingel took command of the back line with 16 of UCF’s 45 digs to lead the way. Amber Olson fell just shy of a double-double with nine kills, while McKenna Melville matched her freshman counterpart’s defensive output.
The serve game played a big role in the Knights’ win. UCF converted seven serves into aces, while Memphis committed nine service errors for the match.
The Knights flew out to a 10-point lead in the opening game at 14-4, led by three kills from Fisher. After stretching the lead out to 11 later in the frame, UCF had to counter a 12-5 run by the hosts. Melville helped the Black and Gold close out the set on a three-point run with a kill and an ace. Fisher muscled home four kills on six swings to lead an attack that hit .259 to Memphis’ -.030.
UCF was not able to create a similar commanding lead in the middle set, but the Knights never trailed after the opening point of the game. After opening up a four-point lead, the Black and Gold used a 6-1 run to take a 17-9 lead and a two-set advantage into the break. Wesolich converted all four of her attacks into kills to lead the offense, as the Knights hit a staggering .464 with a sideout percentage of 86.
Again, the Knights jumped out to a five-point advantage at 11-6. Following a quick three-point streak by the hosts, a block by Sabol and Wesolich kickstarted a 10-3 run for UCF, which was all it would need to close out the match in straight sets. Fisher finished strong on five kills from eight swings. Sabol recorded all four of her rejections in the final frame.
NOTES TO KOW
>> The Knights are 3-0 to start American Athletic Conference play for the fourth time since joining the conference.
>> Sunday marked UCF’s sixth sweep of the season and first in The American.
>> Pingel finished the weekend with a 4.86 digs per set mark, as well as 1.71 assists per set.
Overall thoughts on the match…
I thought we did a great job of finishing off a tough weekend on the road. To come on the road and get three straight wins to start the conference season is not an easy thing to do. I thought we executed well. We were able to get a lot of people the ball. I thought we were able to cause some problems for Memphis with our serve. It was a steady match, and we were in control of it. IWere were able to find our zone. It was nice to get a methodical win. It will be great to come back home and play in front of our crowd again.
On the defense’s performance…
Defensively, I thought Jordan was outstanding all weekend. She had two player of the week caliber performances as our anchor in the back row, especially today. Amber did a great job picking up nine digs, and McKenna just fell shy of getting 10.
On the offense’s balance…
It was great to have Kristina feeling good again. She was unstoppable with 11 kills and no errors. The setters distributed the ball all over the place. Our middles were very active in the attack with both hitting above .500.
UCF returns to The Venue next weekend for matches against Tulsa and Wichita State.