Volleyball Defeats UCF In Five-Set Thriller, Winners Of 13 Straight

UABSPORTS.COM Ally Slaughter connected for the match-clinching kill in the fifth set.
UABSPORTS.COM
Ally Slaughter connected for the match-clinching kill in the fifth set.
UABSPORTS.COM

Oct. 8, 2011

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ORLANDO, Fla. ---- The UAB volleyball team captured its 13th consecutive victory by defeating the UCF Knights in a thrilling five-set match, 3-2 (25-21, 19-25, 25-22, 19-25, 17-15) at The Venue at UCF Arena on Saturday afternoon in Conference USA action.  The win propelled the Blazers to 17-2 overall, while staying perfect in league play at 7-0.

"Our kids are playing with so much confidence right now and are finding ways to win games," head coach Kerry Messersmith said.  "Winning is a big difference for us this year, it has become a habit and I couldn't be happier with our effort."

The two squads alternated claiming sets before sending the match to a fifth and deciding stanza.  In the final frame, which featured six ties, the score became knotted at 15-all, providing bonus volleyball for fans in Orlando.  After a Knights' service error, Becca Howard set up Ally Slaughter for match-clinching kill as UAB defeated the Blazers for the second time in as many days.

Howard and fellow setter Alison Woods ran the offense that hit .274 (62K-17E-164TA) as a squad, spearheaded by Sam Serley and Kate Morrell.  Howard and Woods totaled 53 assists as a tandem out of the 6-2 offensive.

"Our setters continue to do an outstanding job for us," Messersmith said.  "Week after week they do a fantastic job and are playing great not just on offense, but on defense as well.  I can't say enough about them being team players for us."

Serley finished the match with a team-high 20 kills, while hitting at .633 clip.  In the deciding set, Serley was a force on the offensive side of the net, connecting for six kills on seven swings.  She added seven total blocks for a team-best 24 points and committed only one error on 30 total attacks.

Kate Morrell tattooed 17 kills, while Michele Simmons pitched in with 10 for the match. 

On defense the Blazers totaled 15 blocks, led by Kirsten Gallagher's nine.  Other key contributors in the block brigade included Kiriana Hirini (four blocks), Morrell (two blocks) and Thais Soares (two blocks).

The back row featured a 22-dig outing from libero Heather Thomas, while Morrell added 18 for a double-double.

UCF (11-7, 3-4 C-USA) received a 22-kill effort from Evija Vilde, while Angelica Crump tallied 20 kills in the loss. Rachel Vukson distributed 62 assists for the Knights.

NEXT UP:  The Blazers host Tulsa on Friday, Oct. 14 at 7 p.m. CT inside Bartow Arena.