Charuk’s clutch play extends home win streak
Trailing 8-10 in the fourth set against Central Florida, senior Lucy Charuk steadied herself, took the set from Caitlin Ogeltree, and pounded in her 21st kill of the match.
The offensive spark could not have been timelier for the Cougars.
After digging themselves out of a one-set hole, UH’s momentum stalled before middle blockers Charuk and Chandice Tryon came alive to break open the match.
“Lucy always finds ways to step up,” Tryon said. “It’s a great feeling for us to know that we can always count on her when we need a big point”.
The Cougars would take out the Knights in four sets (22-25, 25-22, 25-17, 25-23) Sunday, after defeating UTEP on Friday at the Athletics Alumni Center in four sets as well (16-25, 25-20, 25-20, 25-22).
UH struggled out of the gate as an undersized UCF frontline raced to a 6-2 lead. UH would rally back to 18-20 and force a UCF timeout, but outside hitter Angelica Crump led the Knights to take the set.
“I think we’re still growing in our on-court leadership,” head coach Molly Alvey said.
“We’re still processing our offensive and defensive executions, so there’s going to be a lull here and there.”
With their first-set woes behind them, the Cougars came out in the second set rejuvenated.
After a 10-kill performance in the first set, Charuk led UH in a back-and-forth second set. With the match tied at 16, UH rattled off seven unanswered points to halt the Knights’ momentum.
“The first set we dropped communication a little bit,” Charuk said.
“When things were going right for us, instead of talking about what to do next, we were quiet and kept to ourselves. So in the second set, we really turned it on, talking between plays, celebrations and all that.”
UCF burst out of the gate on a 6-2 run in the fourth set as Crump and junior Evija Vilde ripped winner after winner on the struggling Cougar defense.
Facing a three-point deficit, Charuk reawakened after a quiet third set, smashing her game-high 22nd and 23rd kills, and securing the match for the Cougars.