April 22, 2010
By Erin Campbell
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Following the loss of three seniors from the 2009 squad, head coach Todd Dagenais is excited to welcome four high-level players to the UCF volleyball team for the 2010 season. Each of the recruits brings in a high-level of experience and a fresh set of skills that the team is excited to see.
"We set forth in the 2010 recruiting class to find the height, the skill, and the athletic ability that will help us overcome the strength and experience of our conference opponents," Dagenais said. "Michelle Chatman has done an excellent job of finding these athletes and recruiting them into the Knight family. Each of the 2010 signees and commitments will undoubtedly play a huge role in shaping the future of UCF Volleyball. We now have the necessary personnel to move our way up the RPI and the AVCA national rankings. All we need now is experience, and that can only come with training and playing time. While we might be very young for another year, our athletic ability and versatility will still give us a shot to compete with top teams in 2010, and even more favorably after that."
One of the newcomers, Roxy Menendez, is a hometown player out of Timber Creek High School in Orlando. While at Timber Creek, Menendez played under Allan Rubenstein and helped lead her team to a state championship in 2008.
"Our recruiting goal at UCF is to always get the best player by position in the Central Florida area," Dagenais said. "We accomplished that goal by having Roxy join our program. We are confident that Roxy will provide an immediate impact as a defensive specialist or libero. She brings a great deal of passion and excitement to the court. Our team will find it very easy and enjoyable to play alongside of her."
The second of the two Florida recruits is Allison Rinderknect, a dynamic player that can be tossed into any position the Knights need her in for the 2010 year.
"One of our two fantastic Jacksonville area recruits, Allison is a much needed multi-faceted player," Dagenais said. "She has trained in the middle this past season, but has extensive experience as an outside hitter and has the ball control to play either outside hitting position. Originally, we thought that we might redshirt Allison and that is still a possibility, but as we watched her progress this past year we have no doubt that we could definitely use her in the lineup if the team needed her."
Kaye-Alese Green is the final prep standout to join the 2010 recruiting class. The athletic middle comes in with high expectations in a position that requires one of the highest levels discipline in the game of volleyball.
"When all is said and done, Kaye has an excellent shot at being one of the most decorated middle blockers, and easily one of the most athletic middle blockers that UCF has ever had," Dagenais said. "She is relatively new to the sport of volleyball and the recruiting buzz about her was at a fevered pitch in February and March of this year. Several traditionally-top NCAA programs tried to recruit her, but the quality of academics at UCF, and our medical school, ultimately lured her to be a Knight. We anticipate redshirting her and really look forward to seeing her compete on the floor in the spring of 2011."
Joining the young group of freshman is transfer Rachel Vukson, who will come in the 2010 season alongside fellow setter Marie Reiterova (Luxembourg, Luxembourg). Vukson transfers to UCF from Conference USA-foe Tulsa, where she started both her freshman and sophomore years, while playing in all 104 sets. Her play as a freshman earned her a spot on the C-USA All-Freshman Team, while she was also a finalist for the CVU National Player of the Year. In her sophomore season, she shared the setter role for the Golden Hurricane, finishing second in assists, while helping lead Tulsa to a league-best .262 hitting percentage.
The Canadian spent her amateur career playing for the Durham Attack where she was the primary setter. Under her leadership, the squad won five-consecutive medals at provisional and national championships. She received the National All-Star award on two occasions and received Ontario Volleyball Association's Award of Excellence twice.
Vukson was not only an indoor volleyball standout, but has excelled on the beach courts. Playing up three age groups, Rachel received the Bronze Medal for her play in the Ontario Beach Volleyball League.
"Rachel already has two years of very high level collegiate training and game experience on her resume," Dagenais said. "She transfers to UCF having already competed for conference championships and will definitely contend for the starting setter position from day one. We are very fortunate that she chose to attend UCF because our team will greatly benefit from her knowledge and court experience."
The four-sport high school letterwinner (volleyball, basketball, tennis, badminton, soccer) managed to maintain her excellence in athletics as well as in the classroom. In all four years of her high school career, she was put on the academic honor roll.
These four signees join Reiterova and Katie Tatum who signed with the Knights in the early signing period. These newcomers bring a unique set of playing experience and fire that the Knights are excited to experiment with in the fall.
The Black and Gold could possibly add additional players through a tryout process in August.
"We are always on the look out for enrolled UCF students who could possibly help our program in a variety of ways," Dagenais said. "Therefore, we may host an open tryout for several future or current UCF students who have expressed an interest in joining our program."
For the latest news on the Knights, log on to www.UCFAthletics.com - the official site for UCF varsity sports. The site, which also contains ticket and Golden Knights Club donor information, is also the home of UCF's new online apparel store. Also visit www.UCFPhotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.