Thompson's Double-Double and Theard's Career Night Helps Volleyball Outlast UCF in Five
Nov. 1, 2009
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -
UCF (11-15; 3-10 C-USA) 24 25 25 27 15 Memphis (6-22, 2-11 C-USA) 26 21 27 25 17
Senior defensive specialist Rachel Theard made a career and match-high 20 digs and fellow senior Lauren Thompson posted a double-double performance with 12 digs and 13 kills, including the match-clincher, as the Tigers claimed an exciting five-set victory over UCF on Senior Day.
Freshmen Altrese Hawkins and Maja Jovanovic carried the Tiger's offense with 17 kills each, while the Memphis defense came through in a big way with season-high 18 total blocks in the home finale. Sophomore Carolyn Baker added nine kills and hit .500. Setter Christine Bach recorded 57 assists
Baker made three solo blocks and five block assists, while Casey Sines had eight block assists. Bach made five block assists and Jovanovic, who completed a double-double with 10 digs, finished the day with four assisted rejections. Thompson added two block solos and two block assists. Becky Shaffer picked up 18 digs for the Tigers, who out-dug UCF, 78-56 in the contest.
The Tigers held a 2-1 lead after three sets, but were in jeopardy of squandering the lead after UCF won the fourth set and took a 13-9 lead in the deciding set. Memphis took advantage of a service error by the Knights to kickstart a four-point rally to tie the set at 13. Hawkins played a large role in the comeback. She teamed up with Sines for an assisted block and followed that with her 16th kill of the day to cut the deficit to one point. Hawkins struck for another kill to knot the set at 14-all and Bach gave the Tigers a 15-14 lead with an ace. Memphis held the serve advantage and got a service error from UCF followed by a kill by Thompson to seal the victory.
Memphis trailed 15-13 in the fourth set before storming back with seven-straight points to take a five-point lead at 20-15. From that point on it was all UCF. The Knights rallied to score on nine of the next 12 serves to go ahead 24-23. The Tigers were unable to hold off the visitor's momentum as UCF took a 27-25 comeback win to force the fifth and final set.
Memphis dominated the opener, hitting .419 on 15 kills and just two errors. The defense held UCF to .116 hitting and made seven blocks. However, the Tigers found themselves trailing 24-21 after a kill by Knights outside hitter Erin Campbell. Memphis got a kill by Jovanovic to hold off the first set-point serve. Thompson then connected for a kill to cut the deficit to one point. Jovanovic and Sines teamed up to give the Tigers the lead when blocked a pair of attacks by Campbell to give Memphis a 25-24 lead. Jovanovic finish the comeback win off with one of her four first-set kills. Sines had five block assists in the opening frame.
Memphis used the serve of Bach to post a four-point run and build a 12-8 lead. The Tigers increased their lead to 18-13 on a block by Baker and a UCF attacking error. But the Tigers lead evaporated quickly when UCF scored on 10 of the next 12 serves to jump ahead 23-20. The Knights ended the second on a 12-3 run. The Tigers hit just .077 in the second, while UCF connected for a .190 average. The U of M blockers combined for 11 total blocks through the first two sets.
Bach downed her second kill of the day to cap a 4-0 Tiger's run to make it 10-6, forcing UCF into a timeout. However, just as in the second set, the lead was short-lived as the Knights came right back with the next four points to knot the set at 10-all. Memphis hit .394 in the set and held UCF to a .190 clip, but again found itself trailing late after a pair of Knights' service aces made it 20-18. Memphis rallied for the next two points to tie the set at 20-20 and the two played to ties at 21 and 22, before a Knights' attacking error gave the Tigers a 23-22 advantage.
Memphis will now hit the road for its final three matches of the 2009 regular season. The Tigers will travel to East Carolina and Marshall for contests on November 6 and 8, respectively. They round out the regular season at UAB on Nov. 14.