Tulsa beats UCF to win C-USA tournament
BY MIKE MOGUIN World Correspondent
Monday, November 19, 2012
11/19/12 at 5:31 AM
Tulsa took charge from the get-go and eventually put away UCF in a 3-0 sweep of the Knights to capture the 2012 Conference USA Volleyball Championship Sunday afternoon at the Reynolds Center.
The top-seeded Golden Hurricane (24-9), who won by scores of 25-15, 25-19 and 25-18, had control most of the match despite the third-seeded Knights (16-15) having a few stretches of momentum.
"Our team played so well today," Tulsa coach Steven McRoberts said. "They played so poised from the very beginning. We set the tone with our blocking and our digging continued to be really good for the weekend. Offensively, we were very efficient."
Tulsa has won four of the last seven regular-season championships since entering the conference in 2005, but only won its second tournament title on Sunday, with its last coming in 2007.
"As far as playing (the tournament) here at the Reynolds Center, we've been pretty dominant in this building," McRoberts said. "We've felt really good about getting off the road. In the whole month of October, we had three home matches. Both of our losses were on the road and both came on long trips."
One of those long trips came in Orlando, Fla., where TU lost to UCF, 3-1, back on Oct. 7. The Hurricane dished out a different result on Sunday.
"We have great energy at these matches and the girls can feel that," McRoberts said. "And they definitely felt it this weekend. The girls rose to the challenge and our crowd helped."
Tyler Henderson produced 20 kills for TU. The senior outside hitter also set a tournament record for points per set with an average of 7.94. The previous record was 7.43.
Libero Jessica Adams had 17 digs. Diana Silva and Kellie Culbertson also finished in double figures in that department with 16 and 11, respectively, and Jordan Clampitt led in assists with 26.
Henderson was honored as the Tournament MVP. Adams and Clampitt made the All-Tournament team.
With the win, TU gets an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament. It will learn its seeding and regional assignment on Sunday, Nov. 25.
"It's real exciting," Henderson said. "We get to find out where we're going to be next week and I'm excited to go even further in the tournament."
The score was close early in the first set, but the Hurricane gradually padded the advantage en route to the win. The final point came on a service ace from Adams.
Tulsa was rolling in the second set, establishing a 20-12 lead. But the Knights worked their way back, closing to within 24-19. But when UCF's Evija Vilde made an error on her serve, the Hurricane got the final point needed to take set two.
UCF picked up the first two points in set three, but Tulsa wasted no time bouncing back.
Culbertson and Ashley Hooper made a block of an attack from UCF's DeLaina Sarden to put Tulsa up 3-2. Culbertson also got a pair of kills to move Tulsa to a 7-3 advantage. Henderson kills and UCF errors pushed TU's lead to 14-6.
TU would draw one point closer to clinching the set and the championship with a 24-12 lead. But it would give up five points before Boatwright made the final kill.
"I thought we played well as a team," Adams said. "We were a little shook up because they did go on a run, but I felt like we came together, and we said 'it was time to get the job done,' and that's what we did."
The Knights' Tory McCutcheon led UCF with eight points and shared the team lead in kills with Ashley Gialenios at seven.
Original Print Headline: TU takes out UCF to win C-USA tournament