HOUSTON — The UCF volleyball team (12-1) came up short against Houston (13-2) on Friday night at the Fertitta Center, as the Knights were defeated for the first time this season, 3-1 (25-23, 25-22, 26-24, 25-22).
"We all knew it was going to be a tough matchup", said UCF Head Coach Todd Dagenais. "Both teams wanted to win but when it came time for the critical junctures and time to make a play we didn't, and they did. They deserved to win this match and we congratulate them on that."
"When you're playing a match, I don't care if it's against Houston or anybody, you cant afford to not be a team. It's a tough loss but it doesn't change what we are trying to do as a team and the goals we still want to attain. This will be a learning experience for us, everyone will go back and watch the video."
The Knights started off hot by going on a 3-0 run in the first set. Houston tied the set up at 12-12 and then took the lead at 13-12. UCF tied it at 16-16, but could not regain the lead from there.
UCF and Houston went back and forth throughout the second set, with the set being tied 12 times. The Knights took the late lead at 21-20 with an ace from Katelyn Grimes and never looked back, taking the second stanza.
Set three was more back-and-forth action, seeing 12 ties in the third frame. After seeing the set knotted up at 24-24, Houston was able to edge the Knights to take the two sets to one lead.
The Black and Gold began the fourth set with the lead, but saw the Cougars tie things at five all. Houston didn't look back from there, taking the lead for the remainder of the set and took the match with a 3-1 victory.
"We decided to make a switch on the right side by putting in MaKenzie Chambers and I thought she did a nice job," Dagenais added. "Then at the end Heidi Bonde came in with some nice big swings and gave them a different look. The team never gave up and fought back especially in set four when we could've lost 25-18."
McKenna Melville led the way on the offensive side with 17 kills and seven block assists. Amber Olson led the team in digs and assists with 18 and 37, respectively.
The Knights will head to New Orleans for a matchup against Tulane on Sunday, Oct. 9 at 2 p.m.
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