UCF Knights Upset by High Point in Five-Set Heartbreaker at NCAA Women’s Volleyball Tournament, Season Ends
By UCF Knights // April 15, 2021
UCF finishes season 16-2
OMAHA, NEBRASKA (UCF Knights) – The UCF volleyball team’s historic season came to a close on Wednesday as the Knights fell 3-2 in a five-set heartbreaker to High Point at CHI Health Center in Omaha, Nebraska.
The loss capped off a record year for the Knights, one that saw them finish 16-2 and a perfect 8-0 in conference play. For the third straight season, the Knights won the conference crown and received a berth into the NCAA Tournament, a feat they have only accomplish twice before (1994-97 and 2001-03).
The Knights’ appearance in the NCAA Tournament marked their 11th in program history.
“I’m proud of this team,” said head coach Todd Dagenais. “I’m proud of how they overcame months of adversity to make it here… ending the season this way is the worst way to end it. I give so much credit to High Point.”
The Knights came out hot in set one, taking the first three points and six of the first seven to sit strong with a 6-1 lead before High Point called timeout. Despite the slow start, the Panthers would not be deterred as they came all the way back to tie it up at 18, forcing UCF to call a timeout of their own. The two sides would go on to trade blows from there until the Knights eventually pulled away to score four of the last five points and win the set, 25-22.
The Panthers started off the second set in the lead as they were up 15-13 over the Knights at the media timeout. When play resumed, High Point would go on to score three unanswered to go up 18-13 and force UCF to call time. Unfortunately, the deficit would be too large to overcome as the Knights would go on to drop the second set, 25-19, tying the game at one set apiece.
High Point once again came out hot to start set three, going on a four-point run early to take the 8-4 lead, but UCF would answer back with a four-point run of their own to tie it at eight and force a Panthers timeout. Despite being up 20-18 late in the set, UCF could not hold on as High Point went on a six-point run to end the set and win 25-21 to go up two sets to one over the Knights.
Down 6-4 early, the Knight went on a run of four points to take the lead, but after some back and forth, High Point rallied right back to tie it at 18. From there, UCF would go on to score the next six of seven points to take the 24-20 lead. The Panthers would try to work their way back into it, coming back to make it just a one-point game, but the Knights held on to come away with the 25-23 set victory, tying the match at two apiece and sending it to a decisive fifth set.
The Knights came out hot in the fifth set, going up 4-1 before allowing the Panthers to tie things at six. High Point kept their momentum rolling from there as they went on to outscore UCF 9-5 over the final points to win 15-11 and take the 3-2 match victory.
Reigning American Athletic Conference Player of the Year McKenna Melville led the Knights in kills and digs with 21 and 20, respectively, marking her ninth double double of the season.
Kathryn Wesolich, Emily Lawrence and Amber Olson also turned in double double performances. Wesolich posted 10 kills and 11 block assists while Lawrence turned in 23 assists and 18 digs and Olson chimed in with 25 assists and 19 digs.