Aug. 29, 2009
UCF 3, FAU 0
UCF 3, DePaul 0
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Led by tournament MVP Erin Campbell (Kansas City, Mo.), the UCF volleyball team completed a dominant opening weekend with a pair of convincing 3-0 victories over Florida Atlantic and DePaul Saturday at the Venue at UCF. The two victories completed a perfect 4-0 tournament for the Knights.
Campbell added 23 kills in the two matches Saturday to finish the weekend with 50. She was joined on the All-Tournament team by Andee Youngblood (Castle Rock, Colo.) and Nicole Reidel (Denver, Colo.). Youngblood directed the offense all weekend, and the senior setter finished with the tournament with 151 assists. Reidel, a freshman, opened her collegiate career with a bang and had seven kills and a .455 hitting percentage in the nightcap against DePaul.
"We owe a lot to our B squad," Campbell said. "They have been pushing us in practice so much that they prepared us for the best competition we could have faced this weekend. It feels great to be 4-0 and it feels great to have the best start in 14 years. That is a great feeling, and it just shows that we are going in the right direction with this program."
The last time UCF opened the season with four-straight victories was in 1995, while the squad has only opened with a perfect 4-0 record six times in program-history, only three of which came post-1979.
"I am very proud of the effort of our entire program," said second-year head coach Todd Dagenais. "From the entire spring through the summer we trained hard and everyone took it seriously. Our entire coaching staff did what they needed to do to prepare our team to do what they did this weekend. I can't say that it was expected, and I can't that it wasn't expected, but all I know is that when you put five new faces on the floor like we did this weekend you never know what is going to happen.
"I was really proud of the level of execution from the first game to the last game. Not only were we able to win, but we were able to get better. We are stepping in the right direction, and I am really proud of this program and this team."
Following a loss in their opening set of the tournament to Jacksonville, the Knights went on to win 12-consecutive sets, sweeping North Florida, FAU and DePaul.
Game One vs. Florida Atlantic
UCF easily handled the Owls in its opening match of the day, hitting .433 with 48 kills, 35 digs and 11 total blocks, while committing only six errors, to take a 3-0 victory from Florida Atlantic.
Campbell paced the Knights with 14 kills and hit .353, while Williams was perfect offensively, hitting 1.000 with nine kills. Riedel, Evija Vilde (Riga, Latvia) and Kristin Fisher (Clearwater, Fla.) added eight kills apiece for the Black and Gold, with Riedel adding seven total blocks, including four solo blocks. Youngblood guided the offense with 40 assists.
"[Campbell] is just a great competitor and a great role model," Dagenais said. "What she is doing right now is not only leading with her words, but she is leading by example. She was all business from the time she got here today. She just had her game face on."
UCF and Florida Atlantic started the opening set even through the first 23 points, but Williams gave the Knights momentum with a kill at 13-10, as the Black and Gold went on a 6-1 run to take a 20-11 advantage, its largest lead of the set. UCF would then go on to rattle off five points behind three-straight kills from Campbell to earn the first-set win, 25-14. The Knights hit .395 with 18 kills in set No. 1, with Vilde hitting .625 with five kills and two block assists and Riedel posting a .600 percentage with three kills, a block solo and a block assist.
After starting the second set down two points, the Black and Gold stormed back to score 12 of the next 15 points to go up 12-5. Four kills from Campbell and two from Williams put UCF up by 11 points, 22-11. The Owls would post a run at the end of the set, to pull within 10 points, but Jennifer Belew's first career assist to Williams closed out the set.
Riedel shined in the second set, registering three solo blocks, two block assists and two kills to lead the Knights.
As a team, UCF continued to improve its hitting percentage as the match rolled on, hitting .423 with 13 kills and only two errors on 26 swings in set No. 2, before hitting a match-high .485 with 17 kills and only one error on 33 attempts in the final set.
Behind the consistent serving of Campbell, two blocks and three kills, the Knights took a 6-0 lead in the third set. Florida Atlantic took three points back, but a Vilde kill gave the ball right back to the home team. From that point, UCF only continue to get stronger, stringing together a 12-1 run to go up 19-4, and 6-5 stretch to close out the set, 25-9, and seal the sweep of the Owls.
Game Two vs. DePaul
The Knights fell down, 3-8, early in set one versus DePaul, but a xx run, capped off by a service ace from Campbell, brought the Black and Gold within one point, 12-13, and forced the Blue Demons to take a timeout. An attack error by DePaul evened the score for the first time in the set, before a Meredith Murphy service ace gave the Knights their first lead, 16-15. UCF would give itself a four-point cushion, but the Blue Demons responded with a 4-0 run to knot the set, 21-21.
Kills from Riedel and Sara Rex put the Black and Gold within two of the win, before an attack error from DePaul put it at set point for Campbell to put away the set-winner.
Campbell and Fisher paced the Black and Gold in the opening set with four and five kills, respectively, with Fisher hitting .556 with two digs.
The two squads remained neck and neck throughout the opening half of the second set, before a 7-2 series put the home team ahead, 14-9. The Knights only gained momentum from there, with Fisher leading the team to a 21-13 lead. The Blue Demons began to make a comeback late, but three visiting errors and a kill from Rex put UCF ahead two sets to none.
Again, UCF and DePaul battled hard in set No. 3. After the set stayed close early, the Knights finally pulled away, 21-14. The Blue Demons were not about to give up without a fight, however, charging back late. But, the Black and Gold staved off the comeback yet again behind the serving of Youngblood to win, 25-17.
Radisson-UCF Invitational All-Tournament team
MVP - Erin Campbell, UCF
Andee Youngblood, UCF
Nichole Riedel, UCF
Sarah Cullen, DePaul
Kate Letcher, DePaul
Shelly Walroth, Jacksonville
Aiden Yeager, Jacksonville
UCF hits the road for the first time on Tuesday, traveling to Daytona Beach to face Bethune-Cookman at 7 p.m. The Knights next home contest will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 15 with the team hosts USF for VolleyBowl II at 7 p.m. The first 1,000 students get a free ticket to the UCF-Miami football game on Oct. 10.
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.