Nov. 4, 2012
By Andrew Jennette
HOUSTON, Texas (UCFAthletics.com) - Looking to win its sixth-consecutive Conference USA match for the first time in program history, the UCF volleyball team came up short as it was defeated by host Rice, 3-0 (25-21, 25-17, 25-20), in the Tudor Fieldhouse Sunday afternoon. The Knights (12-14, 9-5), however, clinched a spot in the upcoming C-USA Championship and currently have sole possession of fourth place in the league standings.
The Knights were unable to get their offense on track as they hit .121 for the match compared to .262 for the Owls. UCF dug out 47 shots, but were out-killed, 47-31, as Rice maintained its hold of second place in the league.
After playing so many great matches in a row, sometimes you're bound to have one of those matches where it's just not functioning on all cylinders, head coach Todd Dagenais said. I think what happened is that in the areas we lacked, Rice really excelled. I thought that two things happened; they forced us to play defensive volleyball the entire time, and they were really able to find a rhythm early. We had a hard time slowing them down today.
We put this game into perspective. If we can take care of business next weekend, whether we finish second or third in the conference is really inconsequential because if you find a way to make it past your first round match, you're going to play each other anyway, Dagenais continued. Hopefully we get to play another match against Rice that's a lot more meaningful in two weeks.
The Knights got a team-high 12 digs from redshirt freshman Kayla Keller. Keller was joined on the back row by senior Meredith Murphy, who extended her double-digit digs streak to 14 by digging out 10 Owl shots. Sophomores DeLaina Sarden and Ashley Gialenios both recorded 9.5 points and combined for 15 kills and six combined blocks.
UCF will look to get back on track Friday as it returns to Orlando for senior weekend. The Knights will host UAB Friday at 7 p.m. as they celebrate Parents Day. The team will return to action against Memphis on Sunday at 1 p.m. with their Senior-Day celebration.