UCF Volleyball Weekly Notebook

Sept. 7, 2011

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By Eric DeSalvo

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - It was a historic weekend for the UCF volleyball team as it swept the FGCU Homewood Suites Invitational with victories over then-No. 3 USC, Furman and host Florida Gulf Coast. The Knights (5-1) ended the three-day tournament with 145 kills and a .344 hitting percentage. Since dropping the first set to UNF a week ago, the Knights have won 12 straight.

After a busy weekend on the road that featured three matches in a 24-hour span, the team returns home to host the Residence Inn/UCF Invitational. Making the trip to Orlando will be UNC Greensboro, Pittsburgh and in-state foes Florida Atlantic and South Florida.

Quotes from the Weekend
Senior Rachel Vukson on earning national recognition
"It's hard to take recognition for these awards because it is a whole team effort," Vukson said. "I couldn't do what I do without the hitters I pass to. As much of a personal award as it is, this is a major team effort."

Head coach Todd Dagenais on beating USC
"I think it really was just reassurance that this program is headed in the right direction," Dagenais said. "It's about going out there and competing with them and putting ourselves in a position to maybe someday beat a team like that. It just kind of happened a little sooner then we had thought."

You Set Me Up!
Senior setter Vukson rolled in the accolades after an impressive weekend at the FGCU Homewood Suites Invitational. The Oakville, Ontario, native earned Sports Imports/American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) National Player of the Week, CVU.com National Player of the Week and Conference USA Setter of the Week. She totaled 124 assists (13.78 per set), 20 digs and chipped in with six block assists. She helped the Knights attain hitting percentages over .300 in each of their three matches, including a weekend-best .424 against FGCU. Vukson was also voted as the must outstanding setter for the tournament.

Taking Down the Trojans
Capturing its first-ever win over a top-25 opponent since joining Conference USA in 2005, UCF's victory over No. 3 USC was a complete team effort. The squad hit over .300 in each set while limiting the Trojans to attack percentages under .200 in each frame last week. The Knights outperformed the Trojans in every aspect of the match, including kills (53-31), assists (48-27) and digs (50-35).

Attack! Attack!
Through the first five matches of the season, the Knights sport a .306 attack percentage while holding opponents to .124. Over the course of the three matches at the FGCU Homewood Suites Invitational, the Knights managed 145 kills and a .344 hitting percentage for the weekend. Overall, the Knights are averaging 14.7 kills per set, over four more than their opponents in each frame.

Dig This
Junior libero Meredith Murphy totaled 45 digs this past weekend, inching her closer to eighth all-time at UCF. Currently at No. 9 on the all-time list with 1,080 digs, Murphy is only two shy of Amy Gendreau's 1,082. The defensive specialist has a chance to climb the rankings even further with the upcoming four-match stand. Seventh on the list is Tyra Harper (1,097) and in front of her at No. 6 is Jenny Frank (1,111).

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

Impressive Opening Act
Sidelined by an abdominal injury for the majority of the preseason, freshman Kayla Keller was finally able to get her chance at cracking the Knights' starting lineup. She made quite a first impression with 12 kills, 13 digs and a .269 hitting percentage against then-No. 3 USC. The San Antonio, Texas, native followed up the impressive debut with double-digit kills against Furman (10) and Florida Gulf Coast (14).

Up Next for UCF
The Knights host their second tournament of the season when UNC Greensboro, Pittsburgh, FAU and USF come to town for the Residence Inn/UCF Invitational. UCF will play two double-headers as matches with the Spartans and Panthers will take place on Friday at Noon and 8 p.m. Sunday's in-state double feature pits the home team against the Owls at 1 p.m. and the Bulls at 7 p.m.

VolleyBowl IV
UCF's annual VolleyBowl match is set to take place Friday night against Pittsburgh. The first 1,000 students who arrive at the match will receive a guaranteed ticket to the UCF vs. Boston College football game on Saturday at 8 p.m. Last year, the Knights blanked ECU, 3-0, in front of 710 rowdy fans in VolleyBowl III.

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.