Sept. 28, 2012
By Andrew Jennette
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (UCFAthletics.com) - Heading into Friday night's match at Marshall, the UCF volleyball team was looking for its first victory in Huntington, but the heartbreaking five-set defeat to the Thundering Herd (13-5, 3-1) kept the Black and Gold from stopping the streak. The Knights (4-11, 1-2) held a 2-1 lead, but were unable to put the match away as the Thundering Herd took the final two sets to complete the comeback (23-25, 27-25, 17-25, 25-21, 15-7).
The Knights out-dug Marshall, 79-73, as four players registered double-digit digs led by senior Meredith Murphy's 23. The 79 digs were a season-high for UCF. Marshall came into the match with the best defensive hitting percentage in Conference USA and lived up to that billing as they held the Knights to just a .144 attack percentage on the evening.
"We knew coming in that we haven't had much success at Marshall, but our focus was more on picking up a conference road win and putting ourselves in a better situation for the C-USA tournament later this year. I thought our players had a great focus overall, acting head coach Michelle Chatman said. Chatman filled in for head coach Todd Dagenais for the second-consecutive match.
The Knights will now head 450 miles south on their weekend road trip as they take on East Carolina Sunday at 1 p.m. The squad won for the first time in program history in Greenville last season and will look to regain their momentum with a road victory.
UCF got a huge performance from redshirt junior Angelica Crump as she led all players by tying her career-best with 24 kills. Crump was joined offensively by sophomore DeLaina Sarden who picked up 10 kills and hit .368 for the match. The Knights also got a pair of double-doubles from their setters, redshirt sophomore Marie Reiterova (24 assists, 15 digs) and freshman Dana Faught (20 assists, 14 digs), as both players continued to share playing time in the Knights' 6-2 formation.
"Angelica had a lights out performance. She was extremely focused and came through in crucial situations for us. The team really leaned on her throughout the match, Chatman explained. Marie and Dana are both very talented and both do a good job of keeping the team balanced. I think tonight they both showed they can be quality defensive players as well. Having two composed setters allows us to run a 6-2."
The Black and Gold rallied from an early three-point deficit in the first frame behind a balanced offensive effort and strong defensive effort. Sarden and sophomore Ashley Gialenios registered three kills apiece as the Knights broke a 20-all tie with five of the final eight points to take the set, 25-23.
Despite six kills and the first service ace of the year from Crump, UCF dropped a back-and-forth second set, 27-25, that saw the frame tied 16 times overall.
The Knights stormed out of the gate in set three as they quickly took a 15-8 advantage en route to a 25-17 victory. Crump was dominant in the frame as she picked up nine kills, including four-in-a-row to put UCF up by 10 points in the frame.
UCF was unable to put the match away in sets four and five. The Black and Gold battled in the fourth and were within a point at 20-19, but were unable to complete the comeback as they dropped the frame, 25-21. The final set saw the Knights score the first two points, but give up nine of the next 10 to put them in a hole they could not climb out of. Marshall finished off the final set hitting .273 to the Knights' -.136.