Volleyball holds off late push by UCF in five-set victory

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Volleyball holds off late push by UCF in five-set victory

Marquette celebrates a point in its win against Syracuse Sept. 7 at the Al McGuire Center.

Marquette celebrates a point in its win against Syracuse Sept. 7 at the Al McGuire Center.

Photo by Elena Fiegen

Marquette celebrates a point in its win against Syracuse Sept. 7 at the Al McGuire Center.

Photo by Elena Fiegen

Photo by Elena Fiegen

Marquette celebrates a point in its win against Syracuse Sept. 7 at the Al McGuire Center.

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No. 7 Marquette opened up the Redbird Classic with a five-set victory (29-27, 27-25, 23-25, 19-25, 16-14) Friday over the University of Central Florida.

The prospects for MU looked grim in the fifth set, as the Knights led 10-3. After the Golden Eagles took a timeout, they fought their way all the way to a 14-10 deficit, still needing a big push to win the match.

Behind the firepower of junior Kaitlyn Lines and senior Madeline Mosher, Marquette rattled off six straight points to come back and pick up a win over a team receiving votes in the AVCA Top 25 poll.

Marquette struggled throughout the match, taking the first two sets despite seemingly no momentum.

UCF finally capitalized on the Golden Eagles’ mistakes in the third and fourth but could not hold off the nation’s seventh-best team in the final set.

Senior Allie Barber led Marquette with 27 kills, while junior Hope Werch added 16 and freshman Hannah Vanden Berg put up 11. 

Senior Lauren Speckman contributed a double-double with 41 assists and 19 digs. Junior Martha Konovodoff had a career-high 36 digs. 

For UCF, outside hitter McKenna Melville led with 21 kills, and Kristina Fisher added 12 kills. Amber Olson contributed 25 assists. Erin Olson had 17 assists and 14 digs.

Marquette (6-1) will take on No. 14 Illinois Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in a rematch of the 2018 NCAA Tournament Elite Eight matchup.

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