UCF Volleyball Entertains No. 25 Tulsa, SMU in C-USA Action this Weekend

Nov. 11, 2010

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By Sarah Tarasewicz

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Coming off a convincing straight-sets victory over Southern Miss last weekend, the UCF volleyball team is eager to host the two top-ranked teams in Conference USA at The Venue at UCF this weekend, with the Knights set take on No. 25 Tulsa Friday at 5 p.m., and SMU Sunday at 1 p.m.

Fans looking to catch the Black and Gold as it battles the Golden Hurricane on Friday night will be admitted to the contest free of charge with a donation to the SAAC Canned Food Drive.

With its win over the Golden Eagles on Sunday, UCF matched its most wins in C-USA and improved its league record to 6-8, and also moved its overall record to an even 13-13 on the year. The Knights are currently tied with Memphis for sixth place in C-USA standings, while Tulsa leads the league with a perfect 15-0 record and SMU trails closely behind in second place with a 13-2 clip.

"This weekend we have the opportunity to play the best two teams in the conference again," head coach Todd Dagenais said. "Last time we did this, it was kind of the tale of two matches, where we played really well against a very strong SMU team, then faltered at Tulsa. I thought we matched up really well against SMU, and when it came time to get the win, we went for it and we were just one step short or one point short. We went down swinging in that match. That match took a huge emotional toll on us, then we had to go play Tulsa two days later and we ran into a real quality Tulsa team. Flip that around, now we get them at our place."

Last weekend the Knights averaged 3.3 blocks per set in its pair of C-USA contests at home, which included 17.5 team blocks Friday night vs. Tulane. The Black and Gold's 17.5 total blocks in the contest rank ninth on the UCF single-match register, while the squad's 29 block assists tied for the fourth-best total in a single match in the Division I era.

Redshirt freshman Nichole Riedel (Denver, Colo.) led UCF's blocking threat, posting a career-best nine blocks, which included a career-high eight block assists, and fellow middle blocker Tory McCutcheon (Milton, Ont.) added six blocks.

UCF hit a season-high .362, while totaling 50 kills and committing only 12 attack errors Sunday against Southern Miss to earn a 3-0 victory over the Golden Eagles. The mark was the team's best attack percentage since Aug. 29, 2009, when it hit .433 against Florida Atlantic. The mark was also the Knights' best hitting percentage in league play since 2008 when it hit .396 at Tulsa on Sept. 28.

"I think what we really have to do is feed off of what we did against SMU and we have to be confident that we can repeat that," Dagenais continued. "We take what we did here (against Southern Miss) and we put that into the match this weekend. We have to completely forget about Tulsa. We have to literally pretend like it never happened. That is what you do with matches like that, those are going to happen every once in a while. You have to burn the stats, burn the scouting report and burn the film and get back on the floor and play. And that is what we are going to do."

No. 25 Tulsa is flawless in league play in 2010 and also carries the nation's longest win streak into The Venue at UCF, having won 24-consecutive contests, including all 15 of its C-USA matches. Over the course of its record-breaking season, the Golden Hurricane has won 22 of its contests in straight sets. Much of the team's success can be credited to the play of Tyler Henderson and Jordan Clampitt. Henderson leads the nation in kills and points per set, while Clampitt ranks first nationally in assists per set.

SMU travels to Orlando with the league's second-best record at 13-2, with its only two C-USA losses coming at the hands of Tulsa and Houston. The Mustangs have won their last four contests, which included a five-set win over UCF at Moody Coliseum. The squad is led by junior Dana Powell who ranks eighth in the league in kills per set.

Both matches of this weekend's C-USA series at The Venue at UCF can be followed live on UCFAthletics.com via Gametracker for live stats or Knights All-Access for live video.