UCF Volleyball to Open Conference USA Play Friday Against UTEP

Sept. 15, 2011

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By Eric DeSalvo

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF volleyball team returns to action Friday and Saturday as it hosts UTEP, Jacksonville and Florida International in the Towne Place Suites/UCF Challenge at The Venue. The Knights (8-2) will take on the Miners (9-3) Friday night at 7 p.m. in what will be the opening match of Conference USA play for both squads.

Jacksonville and FIU will face off at 4 p.m. Friday with the winner taking on UCF at 7 p.m. Saturday, and the loser drawing UTEP at 4 p.m.

In the early portion of the 2011 season, both UCF and UTEP have been two of the most improved teams in C-USA as they finished 2010 eighth and 11th, respectively, in the league. This year, both schools find themselves atop the conference with UTEP No. 1 and the Knights following just behind.

"We consider ourselves to be one of the most improved teams in the conference, but we take second to UTEP," head coach Todd Dagenais said. "They are a great blocking team and their offensive numbers are very high. A lot of credit goes to coach (Ken Murphy) and his team because last year they struggled, but this year they are really good."

The Knights will continue their play against in-state opponents for the third-straight week when they conclude the UCF Challenge with either the Dolphins (7-5) or the Panthers (6-3) on Saturday.

"I think right now both of these teams are very good," Dagenais said. "Florida International is at the top of their conference year in and year out, and this year will be no different. Jacksonville has dropped a couple of matches, but they have also had some significant wins too. Jacksonville is going to be ready to play and Florida International will be ready to play."

Remember students that if you have attended any of the Knights' previous matches, you are eligible for the "Ride Away to Miami" promotion. One lucky student who has their name called at Friday night's match, wins the stellar trip to South Florida will receive four tickets to the UCF-FIU football game on Saturday, and a room at the team hotel.

You Set Me Up!
Senior setter Rachel Vukson continued her stellar season this past weekend when she was named Conference USA Setter of the Week for the second-straight time in 2011. The native of Oakville, Ontario, totaled 163 assists over the four-game span with 38 digs and eight service aces. Vukson also ended the weekend with two double-doubles in assists and digs against both BIG EAST opponents, Pittsburgh and USF. The Knights hit .254 in the four-match stand, with an average of 14.6 kills per set.

Among the Nation's Elite
With 10 matches under their belt, both Vukson and sophomore outside hitter Angelica Crump find themselves ranked among the nation's elite. Vukson currently sits at No. 2 in the nation averaging 12.67 assists-per-set. Due to her stellar play, the Knights average the sixth-most assists per set in the country. Crump's strong play on the outside has her ranked 25th in the nation in kills-per-set (4.41) and 63rd in attack percentage (.369).

Dig This
Junior libero Meredith Murphy totaled 45 digs this past weekend, vaulting her to from eighth to sixth all-time at UCF. Possessing 1,123 career digs, Murphy passed both Tyra Harper (1,097) and Jenny Frank (1,111) over the course of the four-match weekend. The Austin, Texas, native is only 11 digs away from former teammate Erin Campbell's 1,135 for fifth all-time.

All-Tournament Team Selections
3 - Angelica Crump - Courtyard by Marriott/UCF Classic, MVP FGCU Homewood Suites Invitational, Residence Inn/UCF Invitational
3 - Rachel Vukson - Courtyard by Marriott/UCF Classic, FGCU Homewood Suites Invitational, Residence Inn/UCF Invitational
1 - Meredith Murphy - FGCU Homewood Suites Invitational

Season tickets for the 2011 season are available now for only $30, which includes 18 regular-season matches at The Venue at UCF and admission to three home tournaments. Also available for purchase this season is the UCF Gold Pass. For $75, the Gold Pass grants the avid Knights fan admission to all home volleyball, men's soccer, women's soccer, softball and track & field events.