USF held a statistical advantage in every category Tuesday, but the Bulls still had to sweat out five games to beat UCF.
With the victory against the Golden Knights (13-10), USF pushed its winning streak to seven matches and 10 of its last 11. But UCF managed to extend the Bulls (17-4) to a fifth set for the first time since USF’s last defeat Sept. 21 vs. Western Michigan.
The stellar passing of senior setter Ale Domingos enabled the Bulls to claim a 30-23, 26-30, 28-30, 30-28, 15-7 victory. Domingos recorded 81 assists, falling two shy of breaking Maria Hogberg’s school record set in 1998. Domingos previous career high was 71 assists against Louisville Oct. 7, 2001.
Rolling behind Domingos’ sets, USF posted a .326 attack percentage, highlighted by a .478 fourth game, though the Bulls barely took the game, 30-28.
Michelle Collier topped the 30-kill plateau with her 31-of-64 performance. She had a .297 attack percentage, and Jolene Patton trailed her with 20 kills on 52 attempts for a .288 percentage.
The Bulls’ defense was also solid. The Golden Knights’ Sante Santaella reeled off 28 kills, but the USF back line accumulated 75 digs and limited the UCF offense to a .232 attack percentage.
The Bulls took out the Golden Knights in three sets the first time the two squads met last season, but USF forfeited the second match after they had too many players suspended following the 2001 Conference USA Tournament. UCF went 20-7 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament, while USF failed to garner an at-large berth.