Nov. 8, 2009
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF (11-17, 3-12 C-USA) volleyball team held its 2009 Senior Day Sunday afternoon to honor its three seniors, Erin Campbell (Kansas City, Mo.), Lauren Williams (Lake Mary, Fla.) and Andee Youngblood (Castle Rock, Colo.) following a, 3-1 (25-23, 12-25, 20-25, 16-25), loss to visiting SMU at The Venue at UCF in Conference USA action.
"I think that it is unfortunate that the seniors couldn't leave this match with the feeling that you hope your seniors do on Senior Day," head coach Todd Dagenais said. "They certainly put forth the effort, the passion and all of the emotion we needed to rebuild and retool this program. I am proud that they were willing to stick it out and believe in a new mission and to be an active part of taking the program into a new direction."
The match, which was broadcast by Bright House Sports Network, can be viewed tonight at 7 p.m. on Bright House channel 47 for digital cable subscribers in the central Florida area.
The trio of fourth-years played their final home match against the Mustangs, with Campbell pacing the squad with a team-high 16 kills and 12 digs, her 12th double-double of the year. Youngblood added her fifth double-double of the season with 48 assists and 10digs, while Williams contributed eight kills and two blocks.
Sophomore Kristin Fisher (Clearwater, Fla.) recorded 14 kills, nine digs and two blocks for the home team, with freshman Tory McCutcheon (Milton, Ontario) hitting a team-high .467 with nine kills and two blocks.
Libero Meredith Murphy (Austin, Texas) posted her seventh-straight match with 10 or more kills against SMU after registering a team-best 17 digs for the Knights.
The Black and Gold opened the match with a 25-23 victory in the first set. Behind the serving of Fisher, UCF jumped out to an early 13-8 lead and never looked back, carrying the advantage all the way to the finish. The Knights totaled 14 kills in the set, with Campbell accounting for seven kills and Fisher and McCutcheon posting three and two kills, respectively.
But, SMU regrouped to take the next three sets, 25-12, 25-20 and 25-16 and improved its record to 19-9 on the season and 9-5 in C-USA play.
When asked to say something about each of his departing players, Dagenais spoke of the three seniors with great passion.
"Lauren Williams never quit getting better and never stop improving," Dagenais said. "That is all that you can ask for from an athlete is to just keep improving. I still feel like she is one year away from being one of the top two or three middles in the country, and yet we are going to lose her here at the end of this year.
"Andee Youngblood has done an admirable job of stepping into the setting role full time this year," Dagenais said. "I have a lot of respect for Andee and all of the things she has gone through. She never quit and she always tried to find ways out of situations. She provided the excellent balance leadership to Erin, and we needed to have that second leader on our team. She stepped into that role wonderfully and has been a very important part of what we are trying to accomplish here.
"What can I say about Erin Campbell," Dagenais said. "People have told Erin in the past that she is too small, that she is not skilled enough and she doesn't have the right attitude, and those people are flat-out wrong. She plays bigger than what she is and she has all of the heart, compassion and toughness of a warrior. She brought it every single day. Not only is Erin a better volleyball player now than what she was, but I think Erin will tell you that she has really become a great person. She has always had that in her, but she has now become a giver, and that is a characteristic that helps out the volleyball team and that is a characteristic in life that is going to carry Erin a long way. Because now she has all of the grittiness, all of the determination, all of the heart and all of the compassion to go forth with compassion and I am really, really proud of where Erin has ended up."
UCF concludes C-USA play Nov. 13, when it travels to Hattiesburg, Miss., to take on league-leader Southern Miss at 8 p.m. ET.
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.