Dec. 7, 2009
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - With the 2009 UCF volleyball season having come to a close, head coach Todd Dagenais recently sat down with UCFAthletics.com to share his top-10 moments from a year in which the Knights laid the foundation for the future of the UCF volleyball program.
10. Erin Campbell registers 1,000 career kills and 1,000 career digs at East Carolina
Date: Sept. 25
Score: UCF 1, East Carolina 3 (21-25, 21-25, 25-17, 17-25)
Recap: Campbell Posts 1,000th Career Kill and 1,000th Career Dig in Loss at East Carolina
Why it Mattered: Heading into the Knights' Conference USA match against East Carolina on Sept. 25, outside hitter Erin Campbell needed only eight kills and 20 digs to become just the fourth player in UCF program-history to record 1,000 career kills and 1,000 career digs. The senior did that and more, registering her sixth double-double of the year with 18 kills and 20 digs, while adding three block solos to pace UCF on the floor and put her name in the record books.
What Dagenais had to say: "If we go all the way back to the beginning of building this program, people said that we couldn't build the program that we wanted to build with Erin on the floor. Erin made all of the changes as a person and as an athlete that she needed to make to make sure that we could build what we needed to build on the floor. She is 100 percent instrumental in where we are right now, so that is exciting for her to be in the record books as one of the four people to go 1,000-1,000 at UCF. I am glad that she was able to earn All-Conference USA recognition for that, because she certainly deserves it."
9. Breaking a seven-match losing streak with a sweep over Memphis at The Venue at UCF
Date: Oct. 4
Score: UCF 3, Memphis 0 (25-21, 25-22, 25-22)
Recap: Fisher's Double-Double Leads UCF Volleyball to Sweep of Memphis
Why it mattered: Prior to the UCF's match-up with Memphis, the squad was looking to end a seven-match losing skid. Injuries continued to plague the young Knights, but, in front of the home crowd at The Venue, the Black and Gold put together a thrilling performance to sweep the Tigers, 3-0, and end the losing streak.
What Dagenais had to say: "We went through a stretch of the season where the injuries just piled up and we never had ample time to prepare. We never had ample time to prepare an individual to play and we were on a seven-match losing streak. We were playing at home with our backs against the wall and we put together an outstanding performance against Memphis to break the losing streak. For me, that is a memorable moment because it gave us that little bit of validation that we needed to keep our confidence going. We never lost our drive and our passion, but the confidence was absolutely shaken."
8. Nearly upsetting No. 24 Purdue at the Baylor Classic
Date: Sept. 5
Score: UCF 2, Purdue 3 (20-25, 25-20, 19-25, 25-22, 13-15)
Recap: UCF Volleyball Nearly Upsets No. 24 Purdue
Why it mattered: The Knights were merely three points away from upsetting No. 24 Purdue on the road at the Baylor Classic in early September. After falling in the first set, the Black and Gold rallied to win the second and the fourth, while holding a late lead in the deciding fifth set. Campbell led the young Knights on a late charge, posting a kill and a service ace to put her team within three points of an upset victory in that set, but a 4-1 run from the Boilermakers stopped the UCF comeback short and gave Purdue the win.
What Dagenais had to say: "We had opportunities in the fifth set of the Purdue match to seal the deal. The fact that we were in competition with a top-25 team kind of foreshadowed what kind of team we could be. Unfortunately that foreshadowing didn't really come to fruition until the end of the year, but it foreshadowed what kind of team we might have been able to be, because we were literally swings away from knocking off a ranked team down there in Texas."
7. The Knights' come-from-behind victory at UNC Greensboro
Date: Sept. 11
Score: UCF 3, UNC Greensboro 2 (14-25, 14-25, 25-23, 25-21, 15-9)
Recap: UCF Volleyball Defeats UNC Greensboro in a Thrilling Come-from-Behind Battle
Why it mattered: After falling down two sets to host UNC Greensboro, UCF geared up in the third set for what would eventually become a monumental comeback on the road. With the score knotted 11-11 close to the midway point of the set, kills from Evija Vilde (Riga, Latvia) and Brittanie Wallace (Austin, Texas) gave the Knights a 14-11 cushion. UNCG would even the match twice toward the end, lastly at 23-23, but back-to-back kills from Vilde and Campbell gave the Knights the win and kept them alive in the match. UCF took the momentum from the third set and stormed out to a 13-7 lead in the fourth. The Spartans answered back with an 11-5 run to even the score, 18-18, but three kills and a service ace pushed the Knights past the home team and into a decisive-fifth set. With the match on the line, the two teams battled to seven ties through the first 16 points, before a late surge of tenacity and heart guided the Black and Gold on a 7-1 run to win the set and close the book on an amazing comeback story.
What Dagenais had to say: "We were down 2-0 when we played at Greensboro, and that was really the first true mental road-test for us. They handed it to us pretty good for two sets, I mean, we looked disorganized, we looked unprepared, we looked like we didn't want to be there...and they took advantage of it. Somehow we managed to find the gumption to get back on the floor. We got back on the floor and decided we needed to be the first team to five (points). Good. Now be the first team to 10. Awesome. Now be the first team to 15. And literally, we just took baby steps. Well, after five baby steps, we won the set. Now, did we say all we need to do is win the next two sets? No. We needed to be the first team to five. I think we learned that the way to get out of a deep hole isn't to jump out of it, it's to start climbing. That really allowed our toughness and perseverance to start coming out. That was a big moment. I believe that toughness gave us hope in every single match, no matter what the adversity was, we had a chance and we just had to execute."
6. Playing on national television on CBS College Sports at Marshall
Date: Sept. 27
Score: UCF 2, Marshall 3 (21-25, 19-25, 25-23, 25-21, 12-15)
Recap: UCF Volleyball Rallies Late, Falls Just Short at C-USA's Top-Ranked Marshall
Why it mattered:Not only was UCF playing in a nationally-televised event on the road, but it was also playing on the national stage with four starters out with injury. Despite the adversity that was staring them in the face, the Knights battled the Thundering Herd, who was atop league standings at the time, to five sets and gave their audience a thrilling event to watch.
What Dagenais had to say: "That was our first nationally-televised match since we have been here and we were just decimated. We asked Katie Riley when the last time she played middle was, and she had to hmm and haaa because she couldn't remember at first, and we said, `well, congratulations, because you are now our starting middle.' We went up there and Katie Riley played some significant time for us on that trip. We came back and had opportunities to beat one of the top teams in our conference despite the fact that we were leaving a lot of points at home or on the bench because of injury. So, I think that was a very memorable moment."
Stay tuned to UCFAthletics.com when Dagenais' reveals his top-five moments from the 2009 volleyball season.
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