No. 9 UCF Volleyball Defeats No. 8 SMU in Opening Round of C-USA Championship


Nov. 20, 2008

Box Score

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (UCFAthletics.com) - The No. 9 UCF volleyball team used a match-high 18 kills and .412 attack percentage from senior Stephanie Serna (San Antonio, Texas) and double-doubles from both Erin Campbell (Kansas City, Mo.) and Janine Williams (Gainesville, Fla.) to secure a 3-1 (25-19, 14-25, 25-23, 26-24) victory over No. 8 SMU Thursday afternoon in the opening round of the Conference USA Volleyball Championship in Memphis, Tenn. The win over the Mustangs (14-17, 6-10 C-USA) was the first in program history and only the second for the Black and Gold in the C-USA tournament.

With the victory over SMU, the Knights will move onto the quarterfinal round of the league tournament Friday to face top-seeded Tulane at 1 p.m. ET. UCF is 7-5 all-time against the Green Wave, falling to the regular-season champs, 3-0, earlier in the season.

"I thought this was a pretty big win for our program and a huge win for our team," head coach Todd Dagenais said following the match. "It has been no secret that momentum has not been on our side over the last several weeks, but we have always felt, as a coaching staff, that we had a big push left in us. We just didn't know when that push was going to be. I thought we made a huge push today. Statistically it was our best match in a long time and I thought that several players played their best match in a long time. So, as a whole and as a program this was a very big event for us to come up huge today."

UCF (15-16, 6-10 C-USA) hit .253 in the contest, its highest percentage in its last 11 matches, including .400 with 20 kills in the fourth set.

The Knights and the Mustangs were evenly matched statistically, with both teams posting 56 kills and five service aces. UCF controlled the contest defensively, out-blocking the Mustangs 11 blocks to 10, and out-digging the opponent 62 digs to 60.

Three Knights posted double-digits in kills in the match, with Campbell tallying 13 kills and 11 digs for her 14th double-double of the season and Williams chipping in 13 kills, 10 digs and matched her career high with five total blocks. Williams' double-double was her eighth this season.

The Knights trailed by as many as five points mid-way through the opening set, but a 6-1 run evened the match, 14-14. From there, the Black and Gold took the lead following a service ace from Andrea Youngblood (Castle Rock, Colo.) and went on to take the set, 25-19.

Youngblood totaled two service aces in the contest and added eight digs and seven assists, while fellow setter Lauren Rosenthal (Colorado Springs, Colo.) posted a match-best 46 assists and six digs.

After falling in the second set, 14-25, UCF came out of the locker room firing in the third set, going up by three points, 10-7. The Mustangs managed to take the lead following a 5-0 run, before the Knights chipped away at that lead to tie the score 19-19, thanks to two-straight kills from Jenny Heppert (Lawrence, Kan.). The two teams evened the score two more times after that point, but back-to-back kills from Serna and Campbell, along with a SMU miscue, clinched the set for the Knights and gave them a 2-1 advantage in the match.

Heppert contributed four kills and four blocks assists for UCF's defense, while Lauren Williams (Lake Mary, Fla.) also had four kills and four total blocks for the Knights. Freshman Kathleen Curry (Geneva, Fla.) posted a team-best 18 digs to help the defensive effort.

Despite the ending score, the Knights maintained control throughout the fourth set. After scoring the first point of the set, the Black and Gold held onto its lead for the majority of the contest. Holding onto a three-point advantage late in the set, UCF needed two points to clinch the victory, but a 4-1 streak by the Mustangs evened the set, 24-24. The Black and Gold was not rattled by the pressure, however, as Janine Williams put the set and the match in the books with two-straight kills.

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.

Short Box Score (Match)
#9 UCF vs #8 SMU Mustangs (Nov 20, 2008 at Memphis, Tenn.)

UCF def. SMU Mustangs 25-19,14-25,25-23,26-24

UCF (15-16) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Serna, Stephanie 18-0-2; CAMPBELL,
Erin 13-1-0; Williams, Janine 13-1-5; Williams, Lauren 4-0-4; HEPPERT,
Jenny 4-0-4; Forde, Renele 2-0-2; Fisher, Kristin 1-0-0; ROSENTHAL,
Lauren 1-1-1; Youngblood, Andrea 0-2-0; Totals 56-5-11.0. (Assists) -
Rosenthal, Lauren 46. (Dig leaders) - Curry, Kathleen 18; CAMPBELL,
Erin 11; Williams, Janine 10; Youngblood, Andrea 8

SMU Mustangs (14-17) (Kills-aces-blocks) - WILKERSON, Kathryn 15-0-2;
POWELL, Dana 12-1-4; PETERS, Natalie 11-1-6; KAHANEK, Kendra 10-0-3;
KONS, Stefanie 5-0-1; OLIVER, Jessica 3-0-2; BERGQUIST, Carly 0-2-0;
STEWART, Sidney 0-1-0; Totals 56-5-10.0. (Assists) - BECERRA, Kelli
23; KONS, Stefanie 19. (Dig leaders) - WILKERSON, Kathryn 19; STEWART,
Sidney 14; POWELL, Dana 12

Site: Memphis, Tenn. (ER Fieldhouse)
Date: Nov 20, 2008 Attend: Time: 1:48
Referees: Donna Carter, Steve Robb