Volleyball Comes Up Short Against No. 5 Texas

by Meghan Kalenborn

ORLANDO- The UCF volleyball team was defeated by No. 5 Texas in three sets (25-20, 25-22, 25-23) in their final regular season home match on Saturday afternoon in The Venue.

The Longhorns (21-4, 16-1) won the statistical battle against the Black and Gold (17-10, 8-8) with 43 kills, six service aces and a .223 attacking percentage. The Knights had 37 kills and nine blocks on the afternoon, with Abby Hansen having a match-leading seven of the blocks. 

“I think we brought it and I was so happy for our team,” said Jenny Maurer. “Sure we had our errors that we need to cut down on but we had good fight out there today.”

UCF and the Longhorns started off the first set in a back-and-forth battle, with neither team trailing by more than three. Emily Wilson had back-to-back kills to bring the Knights within one, 5-4. Texas responded with a 5-2 run to extend its lead to 10-6. Nevertheless, the Black and Gold came back fighting with a 4-0 run capped by back-to-back service aces from Katelyn Grimes to even the score, 10-10. UCF ended up taking their first lead of the set on a Texas attacking miscue, 12-11. The back-and-forth affair continued for UCF and Texas until the Longhorns took a 21-18 lead following a Knights timeout. Texas continued en route to win the set, 25-20.

The Black and Gold found themselves down 3-1 to begin the second set. Back-to-back kills by Claudia Dillon and Wilson aided in a 4-0 UCF run to regain a 5-3 lead. The Longhorns rallied to tie the score, 6-6 and the back-and-forth battle proceeded once again. With UCF leading 16-15, Texas started to gain momentum by going on a 6-0 run to go in front, 21-16. Following a timeout, the Knights tried to rally on a 3-0 run, capped by back-to-back solo blocks by Hansen, forcing Texas to take a timeout with UCF down by three, 21-19. Following the timeout, the Longhorns held on to win by a score of 25-22. 

Set three started with an exchange of service errors between the Knights and Texas. The score remained back and forth until the Longhorns went on a 4-0 run, capped off by a service ace. Following a UCF timeout, the Black and Gold proceeded to tie the set, 15-15 with back-to-back kills provided by Hansen and Wilson. Another Hansen kill put the Knights up by one, 17-16. Texas rallied once again taking the lead, 22-20 leading to the second Black and Gold timeout of the set. A kill by Avah Armour led the Knights to within one, 24-23. Following a Texas timeout, the Longhorns took the set 25-23 with a kill to end it.

UCF finished its inaugural Big 12 home schedule with a 10-5 record and will end their regular season on the road. The Black and Gold will head to Iowa State and Kansas starting off with the Iowa State Cyclones on Wednesday, Nov. 22, with the match slated to begin at 7:30 p.m.