Oct. 21, 2012
By Andrew Jennette
HATTIESBURG, Miss. (UCFAthletics.com) - An efficient and balanced offense led by senior Evija Vilde paced the UCF volleyball team as it swept Southern Miss (25-22, 25-8, 25-19) Sunday afternoon. The Knights (9-13, 6-4) notched their fourth win in their last five matches and won for the first time in Hattiesburg since 2008.
UCF topped the Golden Eagles (6-16, 2-8) in every major statistical category including kills (43-33), digs (57-45) and blocks (10-3). All 11 Knights that saw action recorded at least one dig led by senior Meredith Murphy's 11. For the second-consecutive match, UCF hit over .300 and held its opponent to under .175 on attacks.
This was one of those complete team efforts. You hate to be cliche, but a lot of people took care of their jobs today and we executed at a very high level, head coach Todd Dagenais said. We won at a gym we haven't won in four years. As a team, we're just starting to find our stride at the right time.
Vilde finished the victory with 10 kills and hit .429 for the match, her most efficient performance since Sept. 8. Kaye-Alese Green, making her first start since Aug. 26, dominated around the net defensively with a career-high five blocks. Redshirt junior Angelica Crump and sophomore DeLaina Sarden registered 12 and 10 kills respectively.
I thought having that balance where Evija is able to attack from the front row really opens up a lot of offense for us, especially in the middle, Dagenais continued. I think when Evija is executing at a high level it takes pressure off the two outside hitters and really makes things easier on the two middle hitters. I thought Kaye did a great job of controlling Southern Miss's offense at the net. We gave her the start in the middle and she did a great job.
The Knights will look to maintain their momentum next weekend as they host a pair of conference matches against East Carolina and Marshall on Friday and Sunday. The Black and Gold lost a five-setter to the Thundering Herd on Sept. 28, but bounced back with a sweep of the Pirates two days later.
The first set was a back-and-forth grind that saw four lead changes and eight ties. Midway through the period, UCF rattled off six of seven points to take an 18-14 lead and force a Golden Eagles' timeout. It was more of the same coming out of the timeout as the Knights maintained their advantage the rest of the way and took the opening frame, 25-22. Crump picked up five kills in the stanza and was backed by four more from Sarden.
The Knights played arguably their best all-around set of the season in the second when they blew the doors off the Golden Eagles, 25-8. The 17-point advantage was the widest of the season for the Black and Gold and the first time this season they held an opponent to single digits in one set. UCF hit a spectacular .522 in the stanza on the backs of Vilde and sophomore Ashley Gialenios who each blasted 4 kills without an error.
With a sweep on its mind, UCF maintained the pressure in the final frame and overcame a game Southern Miss squad that showed no quit despite the deficit. Crump came up with six kills, including the final swing of the match. Vilde was right there with her as she smacked another five kills. The Knights hit .382 in the frame as redshirt sophomore Marie Reiterova dished out 17 of her match-high 40.