Volleyball's Lauren Rosenthal Found Her Perfect Fit at UCF

Oct. 15, 2008

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Sophomore Lauren Rosenthal (Colorado Springs, Colo.), a transfer from Florida State, has been making a big impact on the UCF volleyball team this season. The setter has already been named the Conference USA Setter of the Week on two occasions, with her first honor being the first for the volleyball program since joining the league in 2005. Members of the Athletics Communications staff recently caught up with Rosenthal to talk about the Knights' success so far this season, how she ended up at UCF and her favorite part about playing volleyball for the Black and Gold.

The team battled last weekend for the top-spot in Conference USA against UAB and is only one win away from matching its win total from the last two seasons combined. Talk a little bit about the season so far and how the team is surpassing expectations.

"Well, we are doing pretty well. We had a really good winning streak there for a while. It was a hard loss to UAB last weekend. Everybody on the team wanted to win it and thought that we could, but we still think that we can when we face them later in the season. I still think that we can beat anyone in the conference as long as we are playing well together. Not to discredit anyone else in the conference, because Conference USA is really great and has some really strong teams, but we are going to keep getting better. We are going to keep pushing each other everyday. I think the season is only going to keep going up from here. We have so much potential that we haven't even reached yet. Things are going to be really good this year."

You are a transfer from Florida State, originally from Colorado. How did you make the journey from Colorado to Florida State, and finally from Florida State to UCF?

"I played club volleyball in high school and Florida State was recruiting me, so I came down for a visit and thought that it was a great fit for me. I was all excited about it. It turns out that maybe it wasn't the best possible fit for me. But, I'm glad that it happened because Todd (Dagenais) wasn't here last year. He was also recruiting me when he was the assistant head coach at USC, so that's how I knew him. We got in contact with each other again and I found out he was down here and what he was doing with the program. So, I talked to him when I decided that I was going to transfer and I thought that this was the fit that I was looking for. I was in high school when I made the last decision, so maybe I wasn't as smart. But, I knew that this was going to be great. Then I came down here and it was 100% the best fit that I could have imagined to play college volleyball. I love it here. The team is great. The coaches are great. UCF is great. This is the college experience that every athlete wants to be a part of, a great team that is all about each other and that is doing well and is successful."

You have already been named the C-USA Setter of the Week twice this season, with your first honor being the first for the volleyball program since joining the league in 2005. Just talk a little bit about receiving those awards this year.

"It feels great to be recognized for something, but I really don't see it as an individual award at all. Everything else has to be working really well around me for me to even be in the ballpark to get an award like that. Passing has to be fantastic for me to run our offense and after I dish out the set someone has to be able to terminate it. Both times that I have gotten this award the passing has been great and the attackers have been great. Everyone has just worked together as a team, so I think that this is more of a team award than an individual award. When I got the first award for the program I was so excited. I didn't even know that they had a conference setter of the week. Once I found out I thought that it was really cool. I thought that it was really crazy that I was the first setter in program history to receive this award, because they have had really great setters here in the past. It was really just an honor to have received that award. We are starting a tradition here. It really is starting this season. Our posters say `The Future is Now' and it is! We are starting it now. We are winning all these matches and doing well as a team. We are getting recognized and receiving awards. Everything is starting this year and it is only going to get better."

Both being from Colorado and playing for the same club team at different times, did you know Andrea Youngblood before coming to UCF? If so, was it helpful having a familiar face on the team to help you adjust to a new school and a new program? Are you two close friends now?

Yes. We both played for Front Range and we would have setter's practices, so all the setters were together for a couple of hours every week. We were always in setting drills together and got to talk a lot. So we are trained in setting with the same technique, which is really great for this team because we can really help each other so much. When we notice little things we can help each other adjust things. Setting is such a difficult thing, it is so technical. One little word can mean one thing to one person and something completely different for someone else. For Andee and me it is really easy to give one-word cues to each other and help each other out, which we do a lot. It was really nice to know someone when I was coming in here. I had already gone through being a freshman and having to meet a whole team and try to make friends in the fall. To have someone on the team that I knew and already had a relationship with was really great. Andee really helped me in my transition to the team. We are really close now. As a team we do so much together. We are all having a volleyball Halloween party together and Andee and I are costume buddies."

What is your favorite part about playing volleyball at UCF?

"That's a really hard question because I love everything about UCF volleyball. But I would have to say that my favorite part about it is playing with the girls. Everyone is for each other. It's so nice to know that whenever you do something well, you have 15 other girls that are really excited for you. When you do something not even remotely close to being any type of good, there is also 15 girls standing right behind me helping me to get the next one better. So everyone is supporting each other all the time and that is the best part about UCF volleyball."

The team is traveling to Houston, Texas, this weekend to face Houston on Friday and Rice on Saturday. How have you been preparing for the upcoming contests?

"This weekend is going to be tough because we play on both Friday and Saturday, so we don't get that rest day in between. We are practicing really hard and trying to learn what we can from last weekend, and build upon what we have been doing. We are trying to do just a little bit more every week to get a little bit better, to run our offense maybe a little more efficient and get more balls up on defense. Everything we are doing is to build up to be just a little better so we can score one or two more points each game."

Season tickets for UCF's 2008 volleyball campaign at The Venue are currently available by calling the UCF athletics ticket office at 407-UCF-1000. For the latest news on the Knights, log on to www.UCFAthletics.com - the official site for UCF varsity sports. The site, which also contains ticket and Golden Knights Club donor information, is also the home of UCF's new online apparel store. Also visit www.UCFPhotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.