Volleyball Downs Omaha in Five Sets

LAWRENCE, KANSAS – The UCF volleyball team topped Omaha in a five-set thriller 3-2 (23-25, 25-19, 16-25, 25-16, 15-12).

This was the Knight's third five-set victory of the season. All three have happened in the same fashion. Dropping the first and third sets but winning the second, fourth, and fifth.

"I'm glad we play our best volleyball on sets four and five," Head Coach Todd Dagenais said. "You have a great team like Omaha taking advantage of everything, and we really had a hard time out working a team who only knows work, work, work, and they just took every they took advantage of every single mistake that we made. I mean we really had to dig some extremely challenging balls we had to funnel them into a defense and then make a play. That's gonna be an important win for us all year long plus it's another one that adds confidence for when we're in a tight match. We know can just keep our stuff together we're gonna be okay."

In set one, McKenna Melville and Emily Wilson quickly imposed their will. Melville had six kills in the first set and Wilson had five kills while hitting a staggering .556. The Mavericks would take the set still in a tightly contested back and forth affair 25-23.

The second set was another tight one until the Knights went on a 7-0 run to give them a 21-12 lead. The Knights ended up winning the set 25-19, finishing the set on a 10-5 run.

Omaha won the third set 25-16 without ever giving up the lead putting the Knight's backs against the wall.

UCF responded with a 25-16 win of their own. Much like the second set, the Black and Gold went on a big run to close the set, scoring seven of the final eight points.

Omaha would start the fifth set with an ace but that was the only lead they would hold. UCF immediately tied it up with a kill from Melville, followed that with a kill from Katelyn Grimes to take the lead and they never trailed again. They would go on to take the fifth set 15-12.

Melville was incredible yet again tonight. Her 27 kills moved her 29 kills away from setting the school record for kills. She hit .333 with 10 digs and four blocks.

"McKenna was awesome tonight," Dagenais said. "She hit a lot of out-of-system balls. She was amazing tonight. She was the glue that held us together. I really think a big turning point of the match was Katelyn Grimes going back in and passing spectacularly and Heidi Bonde going into the L2 spot to finish the match. She hit a really easy .333 with no errors. Three kills doesn't look like that much in the box score, but I'll tell you the job that she did was so critically important by stabilizing that L2 position."

Amber Olson was also huge for the Knights. Her 48 assists were pivotal to the UCF offense.

The Knights move to 6-0 and will face Kansas tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m. ET. The match will be streamed on ESPN+.


[Thoughts on Kansas]

"Kansas knows what it means to win the gym. You look at the team themselves they handle the ball well, they make great setting decisions, they put balls away, and they're going to have huge blocks. We're just gonna have to go out there and line it up and try to outplay them. They play every facet of the game extremely well. "

[Thoughts on Lipscomb]

"Every year they challenge not only to be their conference champion, but they challenge for at large bids. They're extremely well coached, and they're going to mix things up on us, they're going to know what our weaknesses are and they're going to try to take advantage of it. We're going to have to play clean volleyball. we're gonna have to stay out of the blocking errors, the net errors. We have to stay out of forcing things and those are all things I think we did tonight. We got ourselves into a situation where we were just forcing way too much, trying too hard to win instead of managing and trying to win the next rally. Those are things that we can clean up."

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