Aug. 28, 2009
UCF 3, JU 1
UCF 3, UNF 0
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF volleyball team (2-0) bounced back after dropping its first set of the season Friday, winning six-straight sets to claim 3-1 and 3-0 victories over Jacksonville (0-1) and North Florida (1-1) respectively. The matches were part of the Radisson-UCF Invitational as the Knights opened their 2009 season at the Venue at UCF.
In other action on Friday, North Florida defeated Florida Atlantic 3-2 and DePaul defeated Florida Atlantic 3-1. The tournament concludes Saturday with six more matches, including two involving the host Knights. UCF will square off with Florida Atlantic at 1 p.m. before hosting DePaul in the nightcap at 7:30 p.m.
Senior Erin Campbell (Kansas City, Mo.) and sophomore Kristin Fisher (Clearwater, Fla.) tallied 27 and 24 kills, respectively, on the day to lead the Knights, while senior Andee Youngblood (Castle Rock, Colo.) directed the offense and finished with 80 assists.
"We started executing, we started making some plays and once we put doubt in Jacksonville's head I felt like we got stronger and stronger all the way through," second-year head coach Todd Dagenais said. "Once we got everyone playing their own position and doing their own thing we really settled in nicely. Today validated our work we put into the preseason."
Game 1 Recap vs. Jacksonville
In UCF's season-opener, Jacksonville stormed out to a 9-3 lead in the first set and eventually stretched it to a 21-12 margin. That was when the Knights claimed 10 of the next 12 points to inch within one at 23-22, capped off by a pair of attack errors by the Dolphins. However JU made up for it on the next two points to earn the first set.
The two schools went back and forth in the second until it was 18-18. Sophomore Sara Rex (Oldsmar, Fla.) knew she needed to step up, posting back-to-back kills and the Knights did not look back, finishing off the set at 25-21 on a kill by sophomore Fisher. Rex completed the set with a perfect hitting percentage on four kills.
It was close again in the third where UCF and JU were knotted up at 11-11. The Black and Gold then earned the next three points on Campbell's serve, and it never relinquished the lead, rolling to a 25-16 victory.
That gave UCF all the momentum it would need, and Jacksonville struggled right away in the fourth by committing numerous errors to allow the Knights to open an 8-0 advantage. Now playing with a lot of confidence, UCF kept the pressure on the Dolphins with kills from freshman Nichole Riedel (Denver, Colo.) and Campbell to make it 10-1. That lead proved to be very beneficial since JU began finding a rhythm en route to closing the deficit to 10-8. Consecutive kills from Fisher and Campbell ruined a possible comeback, and the Knights were able to secure win No. 1 for 2009 with a 25-17 triumph in set four.
"The win against Jacksonville gave us momentum for UNF," Campbell said. "The first set was a little rough and [Coach] was waiting for us to crack, but we were composed the whole time. That shows even though we have some young players on court, they have a great level of experience."
Game 2 Recap vs. North Florida
UCF took an early advantage in its second set of the day against North Florida, taking a 9-0 lead behind the serving of Riedel and five kills from Campbell. The Knights continued to roll throughout the set, holding the Ospreys to only six points, while pulling within five points of closing out the set, 19-6. A kill from Fisher put the Black and Gold ahead, 23-8, before a kill from Campbell and an error from North Florida gave the Knights the first-set victory.
The second set started the same as the first, with Riedel serving UCF to a 6-1 lead. But, the Ospreys made a comeback midway through the set, pulling within two points of the Knights at 9-7. The Black and Gold and UNF would then trade three-point runs, before a 6-3 stretch, capped off by a kill from Riedel, closed out the second set for the Knights.
As the intensity in the gym began to rise, so did the play of the pair of teams after the 10-minute locker room break. Both the Knights and the Ospreys played neck and neck in the third set, evening the score six times, the last at 11-11. From there, UCF went on a 5-0 stretch to take a 16-12 lead and continued to roll to the match victory with five-straight points served up by Meredith Murphy (Austin, Texas).
"The crowd was a huge part of our second win tonight," Dagenais said. "We were right at the perfect level, not too high, not too low and the crowd got us there right away. The student section was phenomenal. Right now, they're the best student section in the conference."
Season tickets for the upcoming season are on sale now for only $30, with the Knights hosting 16 regular-season matches at The Venue at UCF throughout the year.
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.