UCF Volleyball Ends Spring Indoor Season with Success at Florida Tournament

April 14, 2011

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By Sarah Tarasewicz

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF volleyball team concluded the indoor portion of its spring schedule Saturday with a successful showing at the Florida Spring Tournament. During the event, the Knights matched-up against in-state rivals Florida, Florida State and USF.

"This weekend of intense competition was the perfect way to wrap up a very intense spring," head coach Todd Dagenais said. "For the first time all spring we were able to utilize all of the things that we worked so hard on and the results showed. We are exactly where we want to be heading into the summer and heading into next fall."

Due to travel issues, the Black and Gold was not able to play its morning match against the Seminoles, and instead opened the tournament against the host Gators. UCF battled Florida, who concluded the 2010 season ranked No. 8 in the AVCA Coaches Poll, hard in the two-set match, but eventually succumbed to the home team, 2-0 (27-29, 23-25).

"That's twice now that we have played Florida to deuce games, and this was a consensus No. 1 team the majority of last year," Dagenais said. "We showed that we have the ability to compete with them and sustain that effort."

The Knights finished the morning session by handily defeating the Bulls, 2-0 (25-17, 25-13), before heading off to lunch.

In the afternoon session, UCF was able to take a single-set match victory from Florida, defeating the Gators, 1-0 (25-21), while it concluded the event with another win vs. USF, 1-0 (25-18), and a loss to Florida State, 0-1 (20-25).

"I am really pleased with how well the team responded when given one more opportunity to play Florida," Dagenais said. "And although we realize it is spring competition, showing the confidence to go toe-to-toe with a national powerhouse is an important step in developing this team's identity."

The Knights will begin the outdoor portion of its spring schedule this week, with assistant coach Erik Peterson serving as the beach volleyball head coach for the remainder of the spring.

After practicing all week outdoors, UCF will scrimmage Webber International's varsity beach volleyball team Wednesday, April 20, at the UCF Recreation Center sand courts from 2:30-6 p.m. The public is welcome to attend the scrimmage and admission is free.

Beach Week will culminate for the Knights as they look to defend their 2010 championship at the Fiesta on the Siesta Key Beach Volleyball Tournament. The event features 18 colleges and universities and 86 beach pairs from all around the Southeast. Play begins at 9 a.m., with the championship match set to get underway around 6 p.m. The public is also welcome to watch the event on Siesta Key Beach free of charge.

Last season, UCF totaled 186 team points to edge in-state rival USF by 5.5 points to claim the team cup at the Fiesta on Siesta Key Beach Volleyball Tournament.

In the fall, the Black and Gold posted its best record since 2003 with a 16-16 overall mark and also tallied a program-best nine wins in Conference USA action and have high expectations for its spring season heading into the 2011 fall campaign.

After three seasons of being the league's youngest and most inexperienced team in terms of matches started per player, the Knights look to return up to six of their seven starters from last season's team, including Vukson, middle blockers Nichole Riedel (Denver, Colo.) and Tory McCutcheon (Milton, Ont.), outside hitter Angelica Crump (Atlanta, Ga.), right side hitter Evija Vilde (Riga, Latvia) and libero Meredith Murphy (Austin, Texas).