Volleyball Sinks East Carolina, 3-0, in Greenville


Sept. 30, 2011

Final Stats

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By Eric DeSalvo

GREENVILLE, N.C. (UCFAthletics.com) - Heading into Friday night's match at East Carolina, the UCF volleyball team had been winless in each trip to Greenville, but Friday night's 3-0 victory over the Pirates (2-11, 1-3) broke that streak dating back to 2005. The Knights (11-4, 3-1) put together a total team effort for their 10th sweep of the season (25-22, 25-16, 25-11).

"It's a place where we haven't had a lot of success in, and for us to come in and win was great," head coach Todd Dagenais said. "This one was a total team effort. We depended on a lot of people. We didn't play great, but sometimes that happens on the road.

"East Carolina is going through a lot of adversity right now with injuries and I thought they played with a ton of heart and a ton of passion," Dagenais continued. "I really feel like the coaching staff and team should be commended for that because we know what it feels like since we had that happen to us a few years ago. For them to have a few starters out and play with the passion they did is a huge tribute to their program and they should be very proud of that."

Despite hitting below their season average of .263, the Knights received timely kills from each offensive player on the squad. UCF totaled an attack percentage of .244, and was led by freshman sensation DeLaina Sarden (Lawrenceville, Ga.) who totaled a team-high 12 kills (.435) and also chipped in with a service ace and block solo. Dagenais feels that the talented rookie is grasping the offense more each week and senior setter Rachel Vukson (Oakville, Ontario) is finding comfort in lobbing up passes to the 6-foot-1 middle blocker.

Vukson had a big night of her own for the Knights, dishing out 38 assists and tying a career-high with 18 digs. Many of her passes were in the direction of middle blocker Tory McCutcheon (Milton, Ontario) who nailed down eight kills (.667) and was a force on the defensive end with a season-high six block assists.

"We know that we have to get much better at blocking to do well in the conference and so hopefully that started tonight," Dagenais said. "I thought we were pretty consistent tonight, but we still have room for lots of improvement."

With the improved work on the block, UCF netted 14 block assists and nine total team blocks. The effort up front enabled the back row to have a strong night as four Knights came up with double-digit digs. Vukson's 18 led the way, but junior Meredith Murphy (Austin, Texas), sophomore Roxy Mendez (Caguas, Puerto Rico) and freshman Kayla Keller (San Antonio, Texas) dug out 13, 10 and 10 balls, respectively.

The Knights will continue north on their weekend road trip as they take on Marshall Sunday afternoon at Noon. The squad will look for its first win inside Cam Henderson Center since the school joined Conference USA in 2005.