Nov. 24, 2012
By Andrew Jennette
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Playing in the final match of its 2012 season, the UCF volleyball team swept FIU (25-12, 25-15, 26-24) at The Venue on Saturday night. The Knights (18-15) played their best volleyball of the season down the stretch as they won 13 of their last 16 matches after a 3-10 start.
The Knights' decorated senior class led the way as Evija Vilde led all players with 15 kills. Vilde finished her final season with 320 kills, giving her 1,203 over her career which was good enough for sixth best in program history. Her classmates Meredith Murphy and Dani Harrison paced the team defensively on the back row with 16 and nine digs, respectively. Murphy extended her school-record career digs mark to 1,999 while Harrison finished her career with 877.
At the net, senior Tory McCutcheon led the Knights with four-combined blocks, giving her 65 for the season and 302 for her career which was also sixth best in school history. McCutcheon gave way in the middle to redshirt sophomore Kaye-Alese Green who blasted seven kills and showed that she could be a force to be reckoned with next year as the Knights enter the BIG EAST.
"I have to give Trevor (Theroulde) and his group at FIU a lot of credit over there," Dagenais said. "They are going through a lot of turmoil with injuries and they suffered another injury during tonight's match. They went out and fought and played hard the whole way. Our system just dominated them a little bit, but they never gave up. A lot of credit goes to FIU."
"A lot of people don't know this, but DeLaina Sarden has been playing hurt for the last five weeks. She's one of the grittiest players I've ever coached," Dagenais continued. "She got the start and played the first set, but then we let her sit down so we could give Kaye a lot of playing time. Kaye has just gotten so much better playing on the B side and we can't wait to see her next year in the middle. We think she and DeLaina are going to tear it up next season around the net."
UCF (45-13-107) out hit the Panthers (27-17-102), .299 to .098, while registering more digs, assists and blocks in the total team effort.
"It's bittersweet that our careers are coming to an end, but it's also a proud moment for each of us, McCutcheon said. "It's been night and day from the day we got here to where we are now."
"The impact we as seniors have put on this program has been tremendous," Harrison added. "It really justifies the amount of hard work we've put in as a program."