June 1, 2012
="" alt="Twitter Logo" border="0" class="imported"> ="" alt="Facebook Logo" border="0" class="imported"> UCF Athletics Social Media Directory
By Doug Richards
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Fourteen matches against squads that concluded last year in the top 100 of the final NCAA RPI highlight the UCF volleyball team's 2012 schedule. In an effort to earn a spot in the NCAA Championship, head coach Todd Dagenais' Knights will meet five teams that competed in the postseason in 2011, including NCAA Final Four participants Illinois and Texas.
After an impressive 20-win season a year ago, UCF returns an experienced group that includes six-of-seven starters. The Knights will host 13 regular-season matches at The Venue at UCF, including eight Conference USA contests.
Season tickets, which start at only $30, are currently available by visiting UCFAthletics.com or calling (407) 823-1000. The Gold Pass, which includes season tickets to all volleyball, men's and women's soccer, women's basketball, soccer and track & field contests, is also available now.
"The NCAA Selection Committee sent a very clear message last year," Dagenais said. "Schools and conferences that were very smart in how they scheduled were rewarded with bids in the NCAA Championship. Our 2012 schedule reflects our effort to build the necessary RPI that allows us to be selected if we continue to build on our recent success."
The Knights will have a chance to face some of the premier teams in the country at the University of Texas Tournament Sept. 14-15. UCF will play three matches in two days at the event against NCAA Championship teams, including Final Four squads Illinois and host Texas on Sept. 15. Illinois advanced to the national title match a year ago. UCF will open the event against Cincinnati.
Dagenais believes that facing Illinois and Texas in the same day will provide the Knights with the toughest same-day matchups of any team in the country this season. UCF also has four Texas natives on its roster, including senior Meredith Murphy.
"Our Texas players deserved the opportunity to play on the biggest volleyball stage in Texas, and it doesn't get any bigger than Austin. What started as an opportunity to play a perennial top-5 program (Texas), turned out to be so much more," Dagenais said.
The Knights will open the season close to home, facing Creighton, Wisconsin and host USF at the USF Tournament in Tampa Aug. 24-25. Both Wisconsin and Creighton finished 2011 with top-75 RPI rankings.
On Aug. 31, the Knights will make their home debut by facing Columbia and Jacksonville as part of the Courtyard by Marriott/UCF Classic. UCF will conclude the tournament the following day with a matchup against Liberty. The Knights will then head to the northeast for a tournament hosted by Sacred Heart in Connecticut Sept. 7-8. UCF will face the host Pioneers, an NCAA Championship and top-75 RPI squad in 2011, Fairfield and Dartmouth at the event.
"We went out and tried to schedule as many teams as we could that have the possibility of winning 20 matches this year," Dagenais said.
UCF will open the C-USA slate on Sept. 21 versus UTEP at home. SMU (Oct. 5), defending league champion Tulsa (Oct. 7), Southern Miss (Oct. 19), East Carolina (Oct. 26), Marshall (Oct. 28), UAB (Nov. 9) and Memphis (Nov. 11) will also visit The Venue at UCF for conference contests. The C-USA Championship is set for Tulsa, Okla., Nov 16-18.
After concluding the league championship, the Knights will hope to prepare for the NCAA Championship with home non-conference matches against Central Michigan, a 2011 postseason participant, and FIU, on Nov. 23 and Nov. 24, respectively. The NCAA Championship begins with first-round contests on Nov. 30.