This weekend the UCF Knights (5-5) traveled away from Florida and Hurricane Irma to head for Arkansas to play in the Central Arkansas Classic. They had a double header each day; Oral Roberts (3-6) and Arkansas State (5-5) on Friday and Central Arkansas (8-1) and Southern University (0-7) on Saturday. UCF took two hard loses on Friday night, but came back strong on Saturday to finish the tournament 2-2.
UCF vs Oral Roberts: L, 1-3; 25-20, 25-27, 18-25, 21-25
The Knights’ first matchup of the day was against the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles. In the first set, the teams were trading points until they were tied at 20 points each. A service error and three attack errors on ORU’s side and one UCF kill gave the Knights the first set.
ORU came back swinging in a close second set, and after two UCF errors were made after they were tied 25-25, the Golden Eagles took that set 27-25. In the third set, Oral Roberts had a lot of momentum, taking the lead early by generating a lot of kills and using UCF’s attack errors towards their advantage, which created a big enough gap that was hard for UCF to come back against. ORU took the third set 25-18.
ORU took the fourth set 25-21 to win the match. For the Knights, redshirt senior outside hitter Kia Bright lead the team with 13 kills followed by redshirt senior middle Taylor Wickey and Kristina Fisher, who tallied nine kills each. The Golden Eagles dominated on the offensive side with 59 kills as a team, 22 of them coming from senior outside hitter Laura Milos and 15 coming from sophomore outside hitter Cece Madison. UCF only made 21 errors compared to ORU’s 28, and junior libero Jordan Pingel and Kia Bright both led the Knights with 13 digs each.
Arkansas State: L, 1-3; 21-25,25-21,17-25,23-25
UCF took its second loss of Friday in their night cap against Arkansas State. Arkansas State took the first set 25-21 and then UCF answered by winning the second 25-21. While the Knights gained momentum in the second set they lost it in the third and fourth sets losing those sets 17-25 and 23-25, respectively.
UCF had more total kills then Arkansas State tallying 58 compared to their 48, but UCF made more errors, which contributed to their loss. Arkansas had 11 team blocks compared to UCF’s six, and Arkansas’ 73 total digs matched up against UCF’s 71 and puts them close in defense efforts.
Central Arkansas: W, 3-1; 25-18, 25-23, 20-25, 25-19
UCF’s next game was against the undefeated Central Arkansas Bears on Saturday afternoon. UCF stayed strong throughout the whole first set. Each team had a few runs of consecutive points but after UCF got 20 points it was full speed ahead with three kills and two service aces to finish the set 25-18.
In the second set, UCF was playing catch-up for a while, trying to make up for the four serving errors and four attack errors they made in the beginning. UCF came back to tie the game 21-21 and two UCF kills and an CAU attack error gave the Knights the second set. UCF fell to CAU in the third set 25-20 but came back to finish the game with a 25-19 win in the fourth set for UCF’s first win of the tournament and CAU’s first loss of the season.
UCF lead CAU in every aspect of the game except aces. UCF had 56 kills compared to CAU’s 51. Offensively, Kristina Fisher led the Knights with 21 kills and Kia Bright tallied 10. UCF had 72 total digs; 16 from Jordan Pingel and 14 from Erin Olsen.
Southern University: W, 3-1; 25-13, 25-13, 25-22
UCF finished out the tournament strong with a big win over Southern University. UCF dominated over SU in the first and second set, winning both 25-13. The third set was closer, but UCF still managed a 25-22 win. With 48 kills, UCF had nearly twice the amount of SU, which only totaled 27. SU had zero aces in comparison to UCF’s five and UCF’s digs totaled 44 while SU only managed 27.
UCF was able to keep the game in their favor by keeping SU’s hitting percentage to a mere .082 while they shined with a .289. Taylor Wickey, Kristina Fisher, and Anne-Marie Watson all tallied eight kills each, leading the team offensively. Jordan Pingel docked 19 digs and Miranda Watkins lead UCF with 25 total assists.
UCF’s will be back home hosting the VolleyKnights Invitational on Friday, Sep. 15 and 16. Their first game will be at 7:00 pm on Friday against the University of Virginia.