Volleyball Heads Out on the Road to East Carolina and Marshall

Sept. 29, 2011

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By Eric DeSalvo

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - After enjoying three-consecutive weekends playing in front of the home crowd at The Venue, the UCF volleyball team will venture onto the road for the first time in Conference USA play as it heads to East Carolina and Marshall this weekend.

The Knights (10-4, 2-1) will take on the Pirates (2-10, 1-2) Friday night at 7 p.m., and then travel to Huntington, W.V., to face the Thundering Herd (2-11, 0-3) Sunday at Noon.

Head coach Todd Dagenais is well aware of how tough this road trip has been on his team in the past. The Knights will be looking to secure their firsts wins at both schools since joining the conference in 2005.

"These are both places to play since we haven't had a ton of success at their places," Dagenais said. "It's a tough road trip for us. We just have to go in there and compete. We have to go up there and have some success on this road trip. We want to come out of it 2-0, which gives us that added boost for where we are in the conference."

The first stop for the Knights will be in Greenville, N.C., against ECU who is in search of its first C-USA win of the year. UCF matches up well with the Pirates, ranking at the top of C-USA in both assists and kills-per-set. The Knights swept ECU in back-to-back home matches last season, but has yet to defeat the Pirates at Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum since joining the league.

After the tilt with the Pirates, the Knights will travel 450 miles to Marshall for another tough weekend showdown. Searching for its first win inside Cam Henderson Center, UCF brings in a high-powered offense that has recorded a .263 attack percentage this season. The Knights hope to connect for some high-percentage shots against the Thundering Herd who has given-up a league-high .247 average to opponents in 2011.

Last weekend, the Black and Gold recorded its best start in C-USA (2-0) since 2005 after knocking off SMU in a three-set sweep. It was the first win over the Mustangs in three seasons. Junior Meredith Murphy (Austin, Texas) collected a season-high 25 digs to help the Knights on the defensive end.

Sunday's 3-1 loss to preseason C-USA-favorite Tulsa included a breakout performance by freshman middle blocker DeLaina Sarden. The Lawrenceville, Ga., native blasted a career-best 12 kills for a .333 attack percentage.