ORLANDO – The UCF Volleyball team fought hard to secure the 3-1 victory over Tulane on Saturday in Orlando. The win moved UCF to 5-0 on the season.
"This was not a one-person win," said UCF Volleyball head coach Todd Dagenais. "Just like last night, there are a lot of things that don't necessarily show up in the box score that really made the difference in the match. Yes, there were solid individual performances… but there are a lot of hidden things too."
It was a close contest early on as the two sides tied scores on five different occasions in the first set. The Knights sat with a slight, 15-13 advantage at the media timeout, but Tulane tied it up at 15-all when play resumed. A couple of clutch late-set kills from MaKenzie Chambers and McKenna Melville put the Knights in the driver's seat and guided them to the 25-18 first-set victory.
The second set began just like the first, with both teams exchanging blows until the media timeout stopped play with Tulane in the lead, 15-13. Following the timeout, the Green Wave posted three unanswered and Dagenais called time to help the Knights regroup. Unfortunately, it would not help as Tulane continued their run to go up, 21-13 before UCF finally struck back. The Black and Gold put up a fight late in the set, but it would not be enough as Tulane went on to win, 25-19 to tie the match at one apiece.
The tight match continued in the third set. After UCF took the 15-14 lead in the middle stages of the set, the momentum swung back in The Green Wave's favor as Tulane outscored the Knights, 7-3 over the next ten points. Down 23-18 late, the Knights rallied big to go on a seven-point run, culminating in a Kathryn Wesolich service ace to help the Knights complete the comeback and win the set, 25-23.
The fourth set was in line with the previous three, coming down to the final moments before a winner was decided. With the Knights leading 17-16, back-to-back service aces from McKenna Melville widened the lead and allowed UCF to finish strong on a 7-3 run to give them the 25-19 set and match victory.
The UCF offense ran through Melville, who turned in a career day in the contest, hitting for 26 kills on 66 total attacks, both season highs. Her 66 total attacks are the most she has ever had in a four-set contest. On the year now, Melville averages 5.05 kills per set and a .352 hitting percentage.
Defensively, Nerissa Moravec continued her strong start to the 2020-21 campaign, notching eight block assists on the day to go along with seven kills, both season highs. She now has 25 kills from the middle position on the year and is hitting at a solid .460 clip.
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