Knights Win Regular Season Finale over Houston, 3-2

HOUSTON, Texas. – The UCF volleyball team (26-6, 19-1), who is the 2021 American Athletic Conference Champion, won the regular season finale over Houston (25-7, 15-5) in a reverse sweep on Friday night in Houston with scores of 19-25, 23-25, 25-19, 25-8, 15-8 to extend to a 15-game win streak.
UCF also earned its 19th conference win, its most AAC wins in a single season.
"We were playing for each other, playing for pride, and playing to win," head coach Todd Dagenais said, "It was really a microcosm of the whole season—the ups and downs, surviving the downs and prospering during the ups. It was the cohesion of a group of people just refusing to lose."
UCF out-blocked Houston 22-4. Nerissa Moravec was a major key in the blocking game with 14 total blocks of her own to break the program match record. In doing so, she also broke the program match record of block assists with 13. Offensively, Moravec added seven kills and hit .375.

McKenna Melville recorded her 17th double-double of the season with 24 kills and 15 digs and notched a career-high eight blocks.
Heidi Bonde grabbed double digits kills with 10 and a career-high three blocks.

Anne-Marie Watson heated up with eight kills and no errors to hit .400 and had seven blocks while Claudia Dillon picked up eight kills, hitting .389, and three blocks while
The back row was dominate as Dresden Pass led with a career-high 18 digs and Katelyn Grimes was just behind with a career-high of 16 digs.
Amber Olson was also doing it all with her 10th double-double this season with 49 assists and 11 digs. Olson added five blocks and an ace.
The Cougars came out strong fighting for an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament. Houston got the first four points of the first set before the Knights tied it up 4-4. UCF took over the lead at 10-9 with a kill from Watson but trailed the rest of the way. Houston had a big 7-1 run and quickly got its largest lead of six, 19-13. The Knights tried everything to comeback, but ultimately dropped the first set, 19-25.
The second set was a game of runs. Houston grabbed the first three points of the second, but UCF fought right back to take a four-point lead, 10-6. Then the Cougars found their rhythm with a 5-0 run to take back the lead, 12-11, before the Knights followed suit with a 3-0 run, 15-13. The set was then tied, 17-17, but Houston went on with their own 3-0 run, 20-17. UCF came within one point but ran out of points as Houston took the second, 25-23, to go up two sets over UCF.
In the third set, it was the Knights who got the first four points before another big 5-0 run to lead 9-1 right away. The momentum shift continued with multiple of kills from Melville while blocking game also picked up. UCF led by a commanding 18-5 lead. Houston went on a 5-0 run, 18-10, not giving, but the Knights secured the set win in 25-19, forcing the fourth set.
It was all UCF in the fourth after quickly getting a 10-2 lead out of the gates. The Knights cruised along the rest of the way with zero errors while Houston hit -.167 in the set. UCF forced the fifth after winning the fourth set in a dominating, 25-8, score.
The fifth set was a continuation of the fourth as UCF got out to a 9-1 lead fast with three blocks. The Knights charged to a 10-point lead, 13-3, while Melville hammered one down for the kill to win the set, 15-8, to get the reverse sweep win.
[On momentum shift]
I believe the team just buckled down and they were mad and wanted to do something about it. They got themselves to all ground themselves back to a base and rebuild from there. When they did that, they almost started the match again and started to feel more comfortable and once they felt comfortable, they were the team we've seen in the last few weeks.
[On the offense]
McKenna wasn't playing her best in the first couple of sets, but after that she was possessed. Claudia kept them honest, and I thought Anne-Marie came up huge and made them pay when they made a blocking mistake. Heidi went out and got six important kills when we needed them. I thought we needed positivity and kills and someone the opponents needed to worry about. Amber did a great job finding the right person tonight. We hit over .400 in three sets and .325 in the second.
As the regular season comes to an end, The Knights clinched an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament and will find out more about what their future holds and who they will be playing following the NCAA Championship Selection Show at 8:30 p.m. on Sunday, November 28.
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