Volleyball Falters in 3-1 Setback to No. 22 Houston

by Jenna VanHoose

HOUSTON, Texas – Despite a dominant first set victory, UCF volleyball was unable to come away with a win, falling to No. 22 Houston, 3-1 (25-20, 18-25, 15-25, 11-25) on Saturday afternoon in the Fertitta Center.

The Knights (17-7, 8-5) came out firing with 15 kills in the first set but the Cougars (14-7, 7-5) ended the match with 52 kills and 14 blocks compared to the Knights' 44 kills and seven blocks. Avah Armour led the Black and Gold with 15 kills firing away at a .265 hitting percentage. Lauren Clark recorded 10 kills while Abby Hansen contributed seven kills and five blocks.

Clark ignited the Knights to an early 5-0 scoring spurt that gave UCF an 11-4 edge over the Cougars in the first set. Houston chipped away at the Knights’ lead to get them within three points, 14-11. The Black and Gold answered back with two straight points and kept ahold of the lead to gain an early lead in the match, 25-20. The Knights hit for a .265 clip compared to the Cougars .200.

The roles were reversed in the second set as Houston jumped out to a 5-0 run, 7-3. The Cougars continued to pace their way through the second stanza to knot the match up 1-1. UH recorded five service aces in the 25-18 set win.

The Cougars got off to an early 4-1 lead in the third frame. Another 5-0 spurt from the Cougars forced an early timeout for the Knights, 13-6. UCF answered back as Armour sparked a 3-0 rally, 13-9. UH paced its way through the remainder of the set as they ended it with a 3-0 run, 25-15.

In the fourth set, a kill from Armour knotted the score at four. The Cougars responded with a 10-1 rally to give them a 16-7 advantage over the Knights. Houston cruised through the rest of the set limiting the Knights to just four more points, 25-11.  

UCF will head back to Orlando for a series against BYU on Thursday and Friday at 7 p.m.