Nov. 11, 2012
By Andrew Jennette
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - In front of a raucous crowd of fans and parents, the UCF volleyball team swept Memphis (25-19, 25-21, 25-22) at The Venue on Senior Day. The Knights (14-14, 11-5 C-USA) clinched their best winning percentage in program history in C-USA play with the victory.
The Black and Gold displayed stifling defense all afternoon as they held the Tigers (12-19, 7-9) to just an .093 attack percentage for the match. The Knights were equally dominant at the net defensively as they denied 11 shots compared to just six for the Tigers
Sophomore DeLaina Sarden continued her monster weekend as she blasted 12 kills with just a single error. Over the last two matches, Sarden has 29 kills on 36 attempts with just one error for a spectacular .778 attack percentage. Senior Evija Vilde smacked 11 kills to back Sarden and senior Meredith Murphy dug out a team-high 10 shots to extend her season-high double digit digs streak to 16-consecutive matches.
We weren't good today. We were just adequate, but I told the team that we have to be comfortable not being good, but still finding a way to score points and win matches, head coach Todd Dagenais said. We were really good against UAB on Friday and it's tough to get that kind of performance back-to-back.
We asked them really early in the year to be tough and to come out of the non-conference schedule 3-9 with some really devastating losses can really ruin teams, Dagenais continued. But the team really dug deep, recognized the urgency and salvaged their season. They really found a way to keep challenging themselves to get better each week.
With the victory, the Knights clinched the No. 3 seed in the C-USA tournament that begins Friday. UCF's opponent will be Marshall and game time will be announced Sunday night. The Knights went 1-1 against Marshall during the regular season, dropping a five-setter in Huntington before taking a 3-1 victory in Orlando.
Following Sunday's match, the senior class of Vilde, Murphy, Tory McCutcheon and Dani Harrison was recognized for their four years of hard work. As Todd Dagenais' first recruiting class, each member brought forth a unique skill set that saw the Knights progress in C-USA all four years.
McCutcheon's three kills combined with Sarden's four aided the Knights in the first stanza as they claimed it, 25-19. In the second, Vilde stepped up with four kills while Sarden registered five more to help Marie Reiterova notch 10 of her match-high 33 assists.
In the third and final frame, Vilde blasted five more kills (.500) while sophomore Ashley Gialenios came on strong with five of her eight daggers in the match. Reiterova hoisted 14 more assists, and the squad finished off the Tigers, 25-22, after a match-ending Sarden kill.