January 29, 2023

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Wildcats go 2-1 in Orlando

Then-junior Jacque Smith appears to be like to cross the ball throughout the March 14, 2021 volleyball recreation in opposition to Saint Louis College. (Archive picture by Sophie Osborn | Collegian Media Group)

The Wildcats traveled to Orlando this previous weekend to tackle the Syracuse Orange (2-2), the North Florida Ospreys (1-3), and the Central Florida Knights (2-0) within the UCF Problem.

In set one in opposition to the Orange, the Wildcats got here out swinging, rapidly going up 4-0 after a kill and two aces from outdoors hitter Elena Baka. The remainder of the match was neck and neck with the Wildcats taking the set 25-23. The set was led in factors by Baka with 7.5 and adopted by junior outdoors hitter Aliyah Carter with 6. Setter Loren Hinkle led the Wildcat Offense in assists with 8.

Set two was a little bit extra lopsided for the Wildcats, leaping out to an early 11-4 lead. Whereas the Orange got here again in direction of the center of the set, it wasn’t fairly sufficient to fend off the trio of Baka, Carter, and junior center blocker Kadye Fernholz. The trio accounted for 13 of the workforce’s 18 earned factors. Main the pack was Carter with 5.5, Baka with 4.5 and Fernholz with three. Persevering with her assist with assists, Hinkle totaled 11 within the set and was the one individual to have an help for the Wildcats.

Set three was a gradual one for the Wildcats, trailing early with a rating of 7-10. They knotted issues up in direction of the tip, however didn’t have the energy to take the set, shedding set three 22-25. After a stable set from Hinkle, each offensively and defensively, the Wildcats went into the fourth set with profitable on their thoughts.

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The Wildcats got here and fought again with depth within the fourth set, taking an instantaneous 12-4 lead. The Orange couldn’t scramble quick sufficient to discover a option to defend the Wildcat offense, and the Wildcats took the set 25-21. Carter led the workforce in factors with seven adopted by Baka and senior center blocker Sydney Bolding with 3.5 factors every. It was one other set boosted by Hinkle, who led each groups in assists with 11 and was as soon as once more the one participant for the Wildcats to have an help. With the set 4 win, the Wildcats took the match and ran with it, profitable 3-1.

The second match of the invitational pit the Wildcats in opposition to the North Florida Ospreys. In set one, the Wildcats began off sluggish, taking place 10-6 early on. Whereas they saved it shut till they may discover their stride, the Wildcats have been down 20-24 earlier than they caught their gust and got here again, profitable 30-28.

Within the second set, the Wildcats as soon as once more discovered themselves down 7-12 early on within the set. Whereas they appear to start out gradual, the Wildcats know how one can end. They clawed their method again in a neck and neck set and pulled out the win in the long run 25-22.

Within the third set, the Wildcats by no means let themselves go down by a lot, displaying full domination. Whereas they have been down a couple of factors early, they pulled every part collectively, each offensively and defensively, and received 25-15. With that win, the Wildcats received the match 3-0.

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In opposition to the Ospreys, Baka led the workforce in factors with 19.5, adopted by Carter with 10 and Haley Warner with 7.5. Out of 34 whole assists for the Wildcats, Hinkle had 30, adopted by junior libero Mackenzie Morris with two.

Match three of the weekend was a thriller in opposition to the UCF Knights. Within the first set, the Wildcats jumped out and took an early lead and held onto it, with the Knights solely scoring a couple of factors at a time. The Wildcats ended up taking the set 25-20 after a powerful set from Fernholz and Bolding.

Set two was a distinct story for the Wildcats. Whereas they fought laborious, they trailed early and couldn’t fairly discover their footing to go on a run. The Knights confirmed full management profitable the set 25-18.

Each groups confirmed their potential on offense and protection in set three with neither workforce main by greater than 4 factors. Down the stretch, the Wildcats started to path 24-21, earlier than they got here again to take the lead 25-24. After a couple of lead adjustments and ties, the Wildcats took the win 30-28.

Set 4 was slow-paced, with neither workforce in a position to get forward of the opposite, till the tip. Within the later elements of the set, UCF went on a 4-point run to take the lead as much as 18-22. After that, the Wildcats simply couldn’t fairly discover their footing and dropped the set 21-25.

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With the match tied 2-2, tensions have been operating excessive, and with the goal rating being moved to fifteen for the fifth set, each groups knew they wanted to get one thing going. Sadly for the Wildcats, the Knights acquired their offense rolling earlier than the Wildcats have been in a position to. The Wildcats dropped the set 11-15, due to this fact giving the match win to UCF.

The Wildcats left Florida with a 5-1 document on the season. They beat Missouri later within the week, and head into the Rambler Problem in Chicago this week to tackle the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (4-2), the Loyola Chicago Ramblers (3-4), and the St. Thomas Tommies (2-4).