Sept. 18, 2008
HATTIESBURG, Miss. (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF volleyball team combined to hit a season-high .380 to defeat Conference USA-foe Southern Miss, 3-0 (25-21, 25-16, 25-15), Thursday night at Reed Green Coliseum, improving its record to 7-5 on the season and 1-0 in league play. The match was the 10th on the road for the Knights in their last 12 matches played and marked the first C-USA match for the team in 2008.
"I thought that we played like a maturing team tonight," head coach Todd Dagenais said following the match. "We still have a lot of rough spots, but we were able to overcome those patches by executing. I think that as tired as we are from playing on the road as much as we have played, all that road activity has put us in the position to be comfortable with the start of conference play, actually opening up on the road. I am really proud of how the team handled themselves traveling so much and how we have gone about the process of being a road team. It really paid off tonight in our level of focus and execution."
As a team, the Knights totaled 47 kills, while committing only nine errors in the three-set event. UCF pieced together one of its best performances of the season, with its attack percentages only getting better as the match went on. In the first set, the Black and Gold hit .306, before improving to .393 in the second set. In the third and final set, the Knights hit .444, its best mark of the night.
Erin Campbell (Kansas City, Mo.) paced the Knights with a match-high 15 kills, while hitting a season-best .316 with nine digs. Stephanie Serna (San Antonio, Texas) was close behind with 12 kills and a career-high .579 hitting percentage. Serna has hit .455 or better in her last three matches, combining for 34 kills in the three-match span.
Lauren Williams (Lake Mary, Fla.) and Janine Williams (Gainesville, Fla.) also had solid outings for UCF against the Golden Eagles. Lauren Williams hit .462 with seven digs and a block assist, while Janine Williams recorded seven kills, three digs and a block assist.
(Colorado Springs, Colo.) posted 39 assists in the victory, the most for the setter this season in a three-set match.
"I thought that Lauren Rosenthal played her best match of the year tonight," Dagenais said.
Defensively, the Black and Gold were led by Melissa Reinder's (Winter Park, Fla.) match-high 12 digs and Jenny Heppert's (Lawrence, Kan.) match-best two blocks.
After trailing 4-0 to open the first set, the Knights rebounded with a 3-0 run to pull within one point of the Golden Eagles early. Another 4-1 run kept Southern Miss in the lead, but the Knights matched the run, going on a 4-1 streak to tie the game, 15-15, and pace them to take the lead. The Golden Eagles crept back to even the score, but a 5-1 run late earned UCF the win in the opening set, 25-21.
Set two saw more dramatics for the C-USA-foes, as both teams traded leads through the first 16 points of the match. After tying at 8-8, the Knight strung together an 8-3 run to take a commanding 16-11 lead and forced Southern Miss to take a timeout. But the Golden Eagles could not figure out the Knights' plan, as UCF went on a 9-5 run to capture set two, 25-16.
The Knights dominated Southern Miss in the third and final set, allowing the Golden Eagles to hang with them through the first 10 points, before going on a 7-1 run to pull away from the competition, 12-6. UCF led by as many as 10 points toward the end of the match, 23-13, before finally putting the match away with kills from Campbell and Serna.
The C-USA victory was the first for UCF since defeating Southern Miss in Hattiesburg, Miss., on Sept. 15, 2006 and was the first league-sweep for the Black and Gold since sweeping the Golden Eagles on Nov. 11, 2005.
The Knights continue play at the Reed Green Coliseum Friday against McNeese State at 4:40 p.m. ET as part of the Southern Miss La Quinta Inn Invitational.
Season tickets for UCF's 2008 volleyball campaign at The Venue are currently available by calling the UCF athletics ticket office at 407-UCF-1000. For the latest news on the Knights, log on to www.UCFAthletics.com - the official site for UCF varsity sports. The site, which also contains ticket and Golden Knights Club donor information, is also the home of UCF's new online apparel store. Also visit www.UCFPhotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.
Short Box Score (Match)
UCF vs. Southern Miss (Sep 18, 2008 at Hattiesburg, Miss.)
UCF def. Southern Miss 25-21, 25-16, 25-15
UCF (7-5, 1-0)
(Kills-aces-blocks) - Campbell, Erin 15-0-1; SERNA,
Stephanie 12-0-1; Williams, Lauren 7-0-1; Williams, Janine 7-0-1;
Heppert, Jenny 5-2-2; Reinders, Melissa 1-0-0; Curry, Kathleen 0-1-0;
Rosenthal, Lauren 0-1-0; Totals 47-4-3.0. (Assists) - ROSENTHAL,
Lauren 39. (Dig leaders) - Reinders, Melissa 12; Campbell, Erin 9
Southern Miss (8-4, 0-1)
(Kills-aces-blocks) - HLAVATY, Angela 8-0-1;
CHERRY, Stevi 7-0-0; BROOM, Lauren 6-0-0; BOWDEN, Sarah Jane 4-0-0;
SEARS, Lauren 4-0-1; PETRINEC, Ashley 4-0-1; SEYMOUR, Kelsea 1-0-0;
Totals 34-0-2.0. (Assists) - SEYMOUR, Kelsea 14; WHALEN, Bridget 12.
(Dig leaders) - PETRINEC, Ashley 8; KNECHT, Lisa 8
Site: Hattiesburg, Miss. (Reed Green Coliseum)
Date: Sep 18, 2008 Attend: 303 Time: 1:20
Referees: Rob Brecheisen, Apple Kridakorn