Nov. 7, 2010
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By Sarah Tarasewicz
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF volleyball team hit a season-high .362 and totaled 50 kills to post a 3-0 (25-17, 25-22, 25-18) victory over visiting Southern Miss Sunday afternoon in Conference USA action at The Venue at UCF. The victory not only tied the Knights best win total in league play with six, but it also snapped the Golden Eagles' eight-match win steak.
The Black and Gold improved to 13-13 on the season and 6-8 in C-USA play, while Southern Miss fell to 16-10 overall and 9-6 in conference action.
"I think that this easily qualifies as not only our best match of the year, but quite likely the best match of my three years here," head coach Todd Dagenais said following the contest. "We have been waiting to put together a great match from top to bottom and I thought that, starting with the serve and the pass, we did that. We hit every single one of our statistical goals and when you do that it leads to things like this and puts you in position to have matches like this. This was a big, big win for us."
UCF committed only 12 attack errors during the contest and posted its best attack percentage since Aug. 29, 2009, when it hit .433 against Florida Atlantic. The mark was also the Knights' best hitting percentage in league play since 2008 when it hit .396 at Tulsa on Sept. 28.
"We stressed all week that we have to diversify our offense," Dagenais said. "We thought that we were depending a little too much on our outside hitters, so we tweaked a little bit of our offensive scheme to try to make it easier for us to set the middles. I think we just really kept them off-guard by being able to set successfully antennae to antennae."
Sophomore Tory McCutcheon (Milton, Ont.) and junior Rachel Vukson (Oakville, Ont.) each hit .500 to lead the Knights, with McCutcheon totaling seven kills and two block solos and Vukson posting a career-best five kills, 41 assists, eight digs and a service ace.
Outside hitter Kristin Fisher (Clearwater, Fla.) hit a career-high .433 with 16 kills, seven digs and two block assists to lead the Knights' offensive attack, while Angelica Crump (Atlanta, Ga.) added a .391 attack percentage with 12 kills and a block solo.
The two squads battled back-and-forth through the first half of the opening set, before a 10-3 run from UCF gave the squad a 21-14 lead. During the run, Vukson posted two kills and a service ace, and Vilde and Riedel combined for a pair of blocks. From there, the Knights would go on to close out the set with a block, back-to-back kills from McCutcheon and a kill from Crump.
Leading 1-0 in the match, the Knights opened the second set with the first point and never trailed for the remainder of the set. The two squads tied six times throughout the contest, with the final coming at 18-18. A Crump kill gave the Black and Gold the lead and three kills from Fisher and a pair of blocks gave the Knights a 2-0 advantage in the match heading into intermission.
In the final set, the tables were turned and UCF was playing from behind through the first 27 points. A service error by the Golden Eagles evened the score for the final time at 14-14, before the Knights were able to string together an 11-4 run to close out the set and earn the sweep.
The Black and Gold continues its four-match C-USA homestand next weekend when it welcomes league-leader Tulsa and second-place SMU to The Venue at UCF. The Knights and the Golden Hurricane will square-off Friday at 5 p.m., before the Mustangs take on UCF at 1 p.m. Sunday.