UCF Volleyball Splits Opening Day of Courtyard by Marriott/UCF Classic


Aug. 26, 2011

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By Eric DeSalvo

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF volleyball team split a pair of matches on the first day of the Courtyard by Marriott/UCF Classic with a three-set victory over South Alabama and a loss in its second tilt of the day to Michigan State. The Knights (1-1) close out the two-day tournament with a 7:00 p.m. match Saturday night against in-state rival North Florida.

In their first match of the day, the Knights swept the Jaguars (0-2) behind a team attack percentage of .348. The squad was led my sophomores Nichole Riedel (Denver, Colo.) and Angelica Crump (Atlanta, Ga.) who hit .667 and .588, respectively. Crump finished Friday with double-digit kills in both matches.

The night cap saw the Spartans (2-0) conclude Friday with a perfect record as it won two three-set matches over UNF and the Knights.

"I thought at times we were able to execute well," head coach Todd Dagenais said after the Michigan State match. "When you look at the stat sheet, we out hit them, out dug them and nearly out blocked them, so there were a lot of things we did well tonight.

"We take a lot away from this match because statistically we hit well enough to be in the match with them," Dagenais said. "If you are in the match, you have a great chance at beating them."

Senior Rachel Vukson (Oakville, Ontario) totaled 65 assists for the Black and Gold on Friday, including 40 helpers against the Spartans. Right-side hitter Evija Vilde (Riga, Latvia) led the attack for the Knights against MSU with a .381 hitting percentage and 12 kills.

The Knights dropped the first set of the match against the Spartans, 25-19. Vukson recorded all 16 assists for the Black and Gold in the first frame and Crump led the way with a .308 attack percentage and six kills.

Vukson continued to see the offense flow through her, picking up 10 more helpers in the second set. Riedel added two block assists in the frame and closed out the match with team-high total of four. Collectively, the Knights totaled eight team blocks on the night.

The third frame against the Spartans featured five lead changes and eight tie scores. The Knights battled to the end, but eventually dropped the set, 25-22. Junior Meredith Murphy (Austin, Texas) closed out the match with 16 digs to lead the team.