STATE COLLEGE, Penn.— The UCF volleyball team (28-2) ended its stellar season on Saturday night against Penn State (26-7) in the Rec Hall. The four-set loss (25-19, 25-18, 25-22, 25-21) in the second round of the NCAA Tournament ended the Knights' 16-game winning streak.
After a huge sweep over Yale in the first round of the tournament on Friday night, the Black and Gold advanced to the second round for the fifth time in program history and the third under head coach Todd Dagenais in the last four years.
"We had the right attitude coming into today," said Dagenais. "We played tremendous volleyball to win that first set. We matched them point for point most the of match. It just came down to timely errors. Penn State is a great team and we battled hard until the end."
McKenna Melville came out strong with a kill to start off the first set followed by a kill from Kari Zumach to take the Knights up 2-0. The Knights finished out with a kill from Abby Hansen to take the set, 25-19.
Once again, Melville started the set off with a kill, but Penn State answered back to knot it up and take the lead for the first time. The Nittany Lions took set two with a score of 25-18.
Zumach started set three out with a kill. The Nittany Lions and Knights traded points back-and-forth until Melville slammed down a kill to take the lead 5-4. Penn State tied it back up at 14-14, once again going back-and-forth until the Nittany Lions went on a 4-0 scoring run to take the set 25-22.
The Nittany Lions came out with a 2-0 lead in the fourth set. UCF set the tone after a 7-0 run ignited by Claudia Dillon with a kill followed by Dillon leading the serve. Penn State eased its way back in by tying it up at 17-17. Melville knotted it back up with a kill but the Nittany Lions fought back to go on a 3-0 run and cruise through the remainder of the match to win, 25-21.
Melville ended the night as the team's leader in kills with 20, along with 14 digs and two blocks. Heidi Bonde recorded 13 kills followed by Zumach with 12 kills.
Amber Olson led with 53 assists, adding in nine digs and two aces.
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