Senior outside hitter Ashley Reavis had a career-high 16 kills, but the feat wasn’t enough for the Bulls to take down rival Central Florida at the UCF Arena on Tuesday night.
The Golden Knights (5-7) squeaked past USF 3-0 (31-29, 30-28, 31-29) as the Bulls finished their last non-conference game before their Big East opener Sunday against Seton Hall.
USF (4-8) had an opportunity to extend the match to a fourth game and gain some momentum, but couldn’t hold onto a 10-point lead in Game 3. UCF had four players in double digits in kills, which helped the team battle back to close out the Bulls.
“It’s never fun to lose, and when you are staring at a statistical sheet that shows (the team) winning every category except kills, it’s just frustrating,” coach Claire Lessinger said. “It just came down to a couple of key crucial plays that just didn’t go our way.”
UCF had 60 kills compared to the Bulls’ 46, which averages out to between four and five kills a game.
It was a battle between two evenly matched teams with 25 ties and 12 lead changes in the match. USF had trouble limiting unforced errors and struggled to get any momentum.
In the end, Lessinger said the Golden Knights’ advantage at the net was the difference in the match.
“We put ourselves in the position where we had to battle for points. It wasn’t anything that UCF was doing,” Lessinger said. “We caused our own struggles.”
Lessinger expressed her concern about her players starting games with little energy and waiting too late to step up to the opponent.
Redshirt freshman Marcela Gurgel had 13 kills and was the only other USF player in double digits for that category. Reavis, who is second on the team in kills with 125, brought some energy to the court but had little help from her teammates. She agrees with Lessinger and feels the team has potential but still has growing pains to conquer.
“I feel that we are a talented team, but I feel like we aren’t there mentally for the entire game,” Reavis said. “We just don’t step up to play when we need to.”