Sept. 4, 2009
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF (5-1) volleyball team suffered its first loss of the 2009 season as host Baylor (5-0) defeated the visiting Knights, 3-0 (25-9, 25-18, 25-16), in their opening match of the Baylor Classic at the Ferrell Center Friday.
"The loss tonight was not a lack of effort or a lack of intensity," second-year head coach Todd Dagenais said. "It was just a lack of experience. We need to play more matches against these types of nationally-prominent teams in order to get better and in order to become one of these teams."
Senior Erin Campbell (Kansas City, Mo.) provided the bulk of the UCF offense, tallying eight kills on 24 attempts, while sophomore Sara Rex (Oldsmar, Fla.) and freshman Meredith Murphy (Austin, Texas) anchored the defense with 10 digs and four block assists, respectively.
Sophomore Renele Forde (Trincity, Trinidad and Tobago) added four kills, four assists and two blocks in her first full match back from playing with the Trinidad and Tobago National Team last week.
"I thought one of the high points of the match was the play of Renele," Dagenais said. "She came in and gave us a nice spark off of the bench both setting and hitting."
The Bears were all business in the opening set, taking an early 3-0 lead. The Knights pulled to within two points of the home team on a block by Andee Youngblood (Castle Rock, Colo.) and Rex, but Baylor would go on a 15-2 run to claim an 18-4 advantage and would eventually pull away with the first-set victory.
UCF turned up the intensity in set No. 2 with Campbell and Brittanie Wallace (Austin, Texas) keeping the team within three points through the first 33 scored, 15-18, but another big run by the Bears killed the Knights' momentum and put the visiting team down by two sets heading into the locker room at intermission.
The balanced attack of the Baylor squad put the Black and Gold in another early hole in the third set, as the Knights went down, 0-4. A block and a kill from Rex and a pair of errors from the Bears pulled UCF to within one point, 5-6. From there the young UCF squad continued to fight determinedly, but a late surge by the home team closed out the set and gave the Knights their first loss of the year.
"Baylor was a very efficient team and scored at a very high rate," Dagenais said. "Their defense was outstanding. They were also extremely physical. Even with all of that said I still felt like we had it within us to hang with them a lot longer than we did. We would trade punches for the first 15 points, and then after that they would lay the big punch and we couldn't respond with a big punch of our own and that is what an experienced team is supposed to do."
The Knights will be tested again on Saturday morning when they take on No. 24 Purdue in the day's opening match at 10 a.m. ET. The Boilermakers defeated UTSA, 3-0, in the opening set of the Baylor Classic Friday afternoon and hold a 3-1 record on the year.
In its final match of the weekend, UCF will take on a 2-3 UTSA squad for the first time in program history at 6:30 p.m. ET. The Roadrunners opened this weekend's tournament with a 3-0 loss to No. 24 Purdue.
Season tickets for the 2009 season are still available for only $30, with the Knights hosting 13 more regular-season matches at The Venue at UCF this 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.