Oct. 8, 2011
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By Eric DeSalvo
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - In front of a raucous crowd inside The Venue on UKNIGHT in PINK weekend, the UCF volleyball team was unable to come up with a victory over UAB as the Blazers (17-2, 7-0) outlasted the Knights (11-7, 3-4) in a five-set triumph, 21-25, 25-19, 22-25, 25-19, 15-17. Both Rachel Vukson (Oakville, Ontario) and Evija Vilde (Riga, Latvia) had career days in the loss for the Knights.
"Goal No. 1 for us today was to play better than we did yesterday. I think we absolutely accomplished that," head coach Todd Dagenais said. "No. 2 was to put ourselves into position to beat these guys and I think we absolutely did do that. Obviously, No. 3 was to win the match because that is why we are here.
"You look at the stat sheet and we did what we needed to do, but the biggest difference was UAB being much more composed in some critical situations," Dagenais added. "They did not make inexperienced mistakes, and I think at times that is what cost us points in this match."
In the five-setter, Vukson dished out a career-best 62 assists. On the receiving end of the senior setter's helpers was Vilde who spiked a career-high 22 kills (.400) to pace the team on the afternoon. Sophomore Angelica Crump (Atlanta, Ga.) came up with her second 20-plus kill effort of the season, and was joined in the double-digit kill column by middle blockers Tory McCutcheon (Milton, Ontario) and DeLaina Sarden (Lawrenceville, Ga.) who each had 11.
For Sarden, it was the fifth-consecutive double-digit kill effort for the talented freshman.
The Knights managed to out-kill (74-62), out-dig (73-60) and dish out more assists (70-57) than the Blazers. Junior Meredith Murphy (Austin, Texas) led the way in the dig column with 17, and Vukson and freshman Ashley Gialenios (Johns Creek, Ga.) notched 15 and 14 defensive-helpers, respectively.
After dropping the first set, 25-21, UCF bounced back to take the second frame, 25-19. Crump led the way with six kills and a .300 hitting percentage. Vukson dished out 14 assists to guide the Knights' offense and also chipped in with five digs to help out on the defensive end. The senior leader came through with her ninth double-double of the season, and her second-straight.
The Blazers would come back to nab the third set, but UCF rallied to capture the fourth frame, 25-19. The Knights out-killed UAB in the stanza, 18-10.
In the fifth and final set, UAB's Sam Serley proved to be too much for the Knights as she came up with six kills to aid the Blazers to the set and match wins.
UCF will venture onto the road once again as it heads to Houston, Texas, to face Rice and Houston next Friday and Sunday.