Sept. 23, 2010
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By Sarah Tarasewicz
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF volleyball team opened the 2010 Conference USA season with a 3-0 (25-27, 20-25, 24-26) loss to Marshall Thursday evening at the Cam Henderson Center. Outside hitter Kristin Fisher (Clearwater, Fla.) paced the Knights in the contest, hitting .379 with a match-high 15 kills and 11 digs for her sixth double-double of the year, while adding a team-best two block solos.
"This was a really hard-fought match tonight between two teams still trying to find their identities and trying to find confidence," head coach Todd Dagenais said. "We are still looking for an identity and as a team we are still looking for our core leadership."
With the loss to the Thundering Herd, the Black and Gold fell to 7-6 overall and 0-1 in league play, while Marshall improved to 7-6 on the season and 1-0 in C-USA action. UCF will have the opportunity to bounce back right away, as it will face the Herd Friday afternoon at 5:30 p.m.
"The unique thing about this weekend is that we have an opportunity to play the same team back-to-back," Dagenais continued. "But, we are still trying to figure out who our on-court leaders are. Sometimes it feels like the younger players are waiting for the older players to do it and the older players are looking to the younger players to help chip in. What we desperately need right now is a leader on the court."
Fisher was the only Knight to reach double-digits in kills in the match, but Evija Vilde (Riga, Latvia) contributed eight kills, and sophomore Tory McCutcheon (Milton, Ont.) hit a career-best .833 with five kills and two service aces for the visiting team.
Defensively, the Black and Gold got seven digs apiece from Dani Harrison (Tallahassee, Fla.) and Rachel Vukson (Oakville, Ont.), while libero Meredith Murphy (Austin, Texas) tallied six digs for the Knights.
The Black and Gold held the advantage for most of the opening set and led by as many as five points, 21-16, near the conclusion. A 6-1 run by the Herd evened the set at 22-22, however, before the two squads traded serves through the next six points. Back-to-back kills from Marshall closed out the set and put the Knights down by one heading into set No. 2.
An early UCF lead was quickly erased in the second set as a kill by the Herd's Cameron Yoho evened the contest at 6-6 and an attack error by the Knights gave Marshall a lead that it would never lose, as it went on to take a 2-0 advantage heading into the break.
The third set was a back-and-forth battle between the two squads as neither team led by more than two points until UCF took a three-point advantage at 23-20. A Thundering Herd kill and back-to-back errors by the Black and Gold evened the set and once again the home team came out on top to seal the conference-opening win.
Live stats, video and radio are available for Friday afternoon's contest at the Cam Henderson Center via UCFAthletics.com.
Season tickets are now available for purchase for only $30 online at UCFAthletics.com or by calling the UCF Athletics Ticket Office at (407) UCF-1000. The Knights are set to host 13 regular-season matches at The Venue at UCF this season, which includes 10 Conference USA contests.