Q & A with Dagenais: Rising Senior Class

Jan. 25, 2012

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By Eric DeSalvo

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - With Rachel Vukson (Oakville, Ontario) as the only starter not returning for the UCF volleyball team in 2012, the Knights will welcome back five of six starters to the lineup. Anchoring the rising senior class next season will be Dani Harrison (Tallahassee, Fla.), Tory McCutcheon (Milton, Ontario), Meredith Murphy (Austin, Texas) and Evija Vilde (Riga, Latvia).

Head coach Todd Dagenais gave his insight on what each individual brings to the team:

On Tory McCutcheon...

"Tory has just been steady all the way through her career. You know she is going to go out there and hit for a high percentage, block about a ball a game and handle all of the off plays as well as you would want a middle blocker to handle the crazy things that happen. She has just been steady. We still think there is room for improvement on her attacking, and we also think she can increase her blocking up to 1.2 or 1.3 per set. She's provided a great deal of leadership in the locker room. We are looking for her to play a solid contributing role in the fall."

On Evija Vilde...

"Evija has really taken on a lot of responsibility. A lot of people might see that her attack percentage dropped. It did because we were going through L2 issues. Literally our right side became our second left side hitter instead of our left side hitter. Evija took a lot of swings that we call low quality swings since she doesn't have a chance to get a kill. Her error percentage stayed where it needed to be and we were excited about that.

"We can use her in so many ways since her jump serve continues to be a great weapon. We still feel like she can be a great all-around player for us. There are a lot of things Evija can be, and I think that she is an All-American candidate. I'm looking forward to her having the opportunity to show that."

On Meredith Murphy...

"Meredith has elected to come back for her senior year. There was a good chance that she was going to move on into a professional life, but I think she had so much fun last year and has a lot of unfinished business. I think she wants that NCAA Tournament even as much or more so than anyone else does. She loves UCF and loves being here. To have that type of stability in a four-year starter at the libero position is key, but she still has to fight for that position because Dani Harrison has closed that gap."

On Dani Harrison...

"Dani is going to be one of those players that will go down as one of the most unsung heroes. She came in and created a role for herself that put her on the floor every single night. Depending on what rotation we started in, she was a starter. She could fill in that libero position any moment that we wanted her to and would be great at it. Her serving, defense and serve receive have given us flexibility in our substitution patterns that has made her so valuable. She has carved out an important role and it will continue.

"First of all, she will be able to battle for that starting libero spot. If she doesn't get that, she still has this wonderful role as a defense and serve/receive specialist."