Knights Rally For 3-2 Win At Ole Miss

Box Score (PDF)

OXFORD, Miss. (UCFKnights.com) – The UCF volleyball team completed the comeback in a 3-2 (24-26, 21-25, 25-21, 25-21, 15-10) win over Ole Miss on Sunday afternoon at the Rebel Invitational.
"For us today to come in here, on the road against a good SEC opponent and be down 2-0 and still have that intestinal fortitude to come back," UCF head coach Todd Dagenais said. "Win the next game, win the next game, send it to the fifth set and then perform brilliantly in the fifth set, I think really says a lot about who we can be as we continue to work and go forward."
Despite putting up a late battle, UCF (2-1) dropped the first two sets to Ole Miss (0-3), 26-24 and 25-21. Needing to lock in to avoid being swept by the host Rebels, the Knights buckled down and jumped out to a 7-3 lead in the third set. The Black and Gold saw Ole Miss pull even at 20-20, but took five of the next six points to ensure extra sets.
In the fourth set, UCF held Ole Miss to a .000 hitting percentage and pulled away down the stretch to force the decisive fifth set. The Rebels secured the first point of the final game, but the Knights responded to assert their dominance. Undeterred by two Ole Miss timeouts, UCF rolled to a 15-10 victory to secure their second win of the weekend.
Anne-Marie Watson led UCF with 20 kills, hitting .385, and had six blocks. Makenzie Kuchmaner tallied a match-high 26 digs. Both were named to the all-tournament team.
Watson finished with 39 kills (3.00/set), hitting .380 and had 15 blocks (1.15) on the weekend. Kuchmaner tallied a team-leading 58 digs (4.46/set) in three matches.
Kristina Fisher and McKenna Melville each registered a double-double on Sunday as both had 13 kills. Fisher finished with 18 digs and Melville had 12.
Erin Olson posted her second double-double of the season with 32 assists and 10 digs. Nerissa Moravec registered a match-high seven blocks.
"Overall, when you take a look at the weekend from the 30,000-foot view, and you say that's a pretty nice weekend. To go on the road and have to play three top-50 teams back-to-back-to-back and come out with two wins, especially when you haven't figured out what your lineup is yet or who you are yet, I think that's a big positive for us.
I saw a much more composed team today than what I saw yesterday. We were much more relaxed and in the moment.
Anne-Marie Watson was a stalwart for us. She took a ton of pressure off of McKenna Melville and Kristina Fisher. Ole Miss really had to worry about us from antenna to antenna.
Our freshmen have done well when they've gotten into the match. Dresi Pass did a terrific job of running our offense. We had MaKenzie Chambers in defensively to try to slow Ole Miss down a little bit and any kills she got were a bonus.
Makenzie Kuchmaner was unbelievable for us all weekend. She's been everything we expected and more. Her 26 digs were huge; so many of them were really crucial. She really anchored our defense and our serve-receive. Nerissa Moravec kind of sneaks up on you. She's out there quietly having a great season already.
We may be a non-conventional team this year, where we start with a certain lineup and finish with another. We have people that are good at certain things and we're going to utilize their talents the best we can."
The Knights return to Orlando to host the UCF Challenge Sept. 6-8 at The Venue. UCF opens the tournament against South Carolina and will also host Albany and Kansas.