Sept. 9, 2009
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF (6-2) volleyball team competed against some of the nation's best teams last weekend at the Baylor Classic. Despite posting a 1-2 record at the event, the Knights proved that they have what it takes to hang with some of the country's elite.
The Black and Gold fell in the opening match of the tournament to host Baylor, who had been receiving votes in the AVCA Coaches Poll, before dropping a five-set heartbreaker to then-No. 24 Purdue. But, UCF bounced back without a hitch, coming back to defeat UTSA in four sets in its final match of the event.
UCF's victory over UTSA on Saturday night marked the 800th win for the UCF volleyball program. Since its inception in 1975, the Knights have tallied an 800-492 overall record.
The Knights conclude their season-long six match roadswing Friday when they travel to Greensboro, N.C., to face both the UNC Greensboro and High Point.
When UCF finally returns home on Sept. 15 at 7 p.m. to face in-state rival USF, 16 days will have passed between the Knights' home matches.
The match against the Bulls, dubbed VolleyBowl II, which is scheduled to air on tape delay on Bright House Sports Network, will serve as a special homecoming for the volleyball squad after its long road trip, as a sellout crowd is expected to be in attendance. The first 1,000 UCF students through the gate will receive a guaranteed ticket to the UCF-Miami football game on Oct. 17 at Bright House Networks Stadium.
Freshman Meredith Murphy (Austin, Texas) was named to the Baylor Classic All-Tournament Team last weekend after pacing the Knights' defense with 59 digs in the squad's three matches, an average of 4.92 digs per set. Murphy opened the week with 13 digs in the match at Bethune-Cookman, before going on to notch double-digit digs performances against Baylor (10), No. 24 Purdue (24) and UTSA (25). Her 25 digs against the Roadrunners matched her career-high and also gave her five-straight double-digit dig outings since the Radisson-UCF Invitational championship match vs. DePaul. On the week, the freshman averaged 4.80 digs per set and added six assists and two service aces.
With an average of 2.52 blocks per set, UCF leads Conference USA in blocks after last weekend's outing at the Baylor Classic. On the season, the Knights have totaled 18 solo blocks, 105 block assists and a league-leading 70 total blocks. Sophomore Sara Rex (Oldsmar, Fla.) paces the Black and Gold and is second in the league in blocks per set, averaging 1.33 blocks per set. The middle blocker has three block solos and 25 block assists on the year.
Three Knights posted double-doubles last weekend at the Baylor Classic, all of whom registered at least one in the five-set nailbiter vs. then-No. 24 Purdue. Erin Campbell (Kansas City, Mo.), Andee Youngblood (Castle Rock, Colo.) and Renele Forde (Trincity, Trinidad and Tobago) each had double-doubles for the Black and Gold in the event. Campbell totaled 11 kills and 15 digs, Youngblood had 17 assists and 12 digs and Forde rounded out the threesome with 21 assists and 14 digs. Campbell and Youngblood now have two double-doubles each in 2009.
The Knights have had five first-time starters on the floor each match so far this season, with the young starters accounting for 59 percent of UCF's offense. Nichole Riedel (Denver, Colo.), Evija Vilde (Riga, Latvia), Kristin Fisher (Clearwater, Fla.), Rex and Murphy had tallied 196 of the Knights' 330 total kills on the season, while also registering 24 of UCF's 35 service aces.
Campbell, one of UCF's two seniors, continues to make jumps on the Knights' career register. Following the Baylor Classic, Campbell jumped from seventh to fifth on the all-time attempts chart with 2,950, surpassing Tanya Jarvis and Amy Gendreau. The outside hitter also surpassed former teammate Stephanie Serna on the career kills list with 902, a mark that places her at No. 9. Campbell is only 98 kills and 89 digs away from becoming the fourth Knight in program-history to register both 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs in their career.
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.