Blazers Stay Hot, Defeat UCF In Five

Sam Serley hit .441 and posted a team-high 17 kills

Oct. 14, 2012

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. ---- The UAB volleyball team continued on its winning ways, defeating the UCF Knights, 3-2 (25-18, 25-18, 22-25, 23-25, 15-6) on Sunday afternoon at Bartow Arena.

The win marked the fifth in a row for the Blazers, and fourth consecutive league victory as UAB improved to 12-11 and 5-3 in Conference USA play.

In the first two sets, UAB appeared to be in quite a groove jumping out to a 2-0, winning each set by an identical 25-18 score.

However, UCF (7-13, 4-4 C-USA) would not go down without a fight.  Sunday’s match which featured 31 ties and 15 lead changes, saw the score knot up 17 times alone in the fourth set, but UCF was able to hold on and force a fifth set.

UAB rebounded in the fifth frame, hitting .333 for the stanza and keeping the Knights’ attack in negative numbers (-.118).  Leading 7-5, Kate Morrell held serve for six straight points and the victory was finally sealed on a Michele Simmons kill, winning the set 15-6.

“Even though we beat UCF in the first two sets pretty good, that is a really good team,” head coach Kerry Messersmith said.  “They upset Tulsa last weekend and they are just now coming into their own.”

After getting off to a slow start, Sam Serley really turned it on, finishing the day with 17 kills, including seven in the fourth set.  The senior hit .441 (17k-2e-34ta) and swatted seven blocks (three solo, four assists).  The Nashville, Tenn., native is now just three blocks shy of 500 for her career.

“Sam Serley continues to play outstanding for us,” Messersmith said.  “She hit .441 and came up with some big blocks and was a key contributor for us today.”

Kirsten Gallagher and Ally Slaughter each filled up the box score as well.  Gallagher spiked 12 kills and added five block assists and four digs, while Slaughter collected seven kills, 19 digs and three block assists.  Slaughter also laced four of the Blazers’ eight service aces on the day.

Alison Woods dished out 42 assists in the win, while fellow setter Becca Howard recorded a double-double (12 assists, 15 digs).  Kate Morrell just missed a double-double of her own, rocketing 10 kills on a .300 hitting percentage along with nine digs.

At libero, Rachel Fairbanks corralled a team-best 27 digs as the Blazers will close out a five-match home stand by hosting Middle Tennessee on Tuesday at 7 p.m. CT. 

“We blocked well and we served really solidly.  Overall we made a few to many mistakes, but we got some aces and our goal is hit .225 or above as a team and we came really close to that,”  Messersmith said.

UAB totaled 12 blocks to just five from UCF and rocketed eight aces to only one by the Knights.

UCF received an excellent performance from libero Meredith Murphy in the loss.  In the back row, Murphy totaled 42 digs, posting 10-plus digs in the second and third sets.

Offensively, Angelica Crump led the Knights with a match-best 18 kills.