Oct. 9, 2009
EL PASO, TEXAS (UCFAthletics.com) - After splitting the first two sets at UTEP (9-10, 2-4 C-USA) Friday night, UCF (10-9, 2-4 C-USA) posted convincing victories in the final two sets to win a hard-fought Conference USA volleyball match on the road 3-1 (25-18, 25-27, 25-18, 25-19). Senior Erin Campbell (Kansas City, Mo.) again led the attack with 21 kills as the Knights won their second-straight league contest.
"This was a huge win for us to come on the road and beat a very feisty UTEP team," said head coach Todd Dagenias. "It was a challenge to get out here with the cancelled plane trip, and our team handled the adversity very well. I did not know how we would react, but it is indicative with the leadership we have showed all year when things have not gone well. That same togetherness that helped us get through the rough part of the season helped us get through this adversity and helped us win this match tonight."
After UTEP rallied to take the second set, a determined UCF squad posted back-to-back wins in the final two sets to claim the needed league victory. Campbell had 21 kills compared to only five errors to finish with an impressive .372 hitting percentage.
"Erin Campbell showed why she is one of the best players in the conference," said Dagenais. "Whenever we needed a kill she was always there, and a team can be really successful when they depend on their seniors."
Fellow senior Andee Youngblood (Castle Rock, Colo.) had a team-high 26 assists in the match while freshman Jennifer Belew (St. Louis, Mo.) added 13 as UCF hit .184 as a team, including a brilliant .324 in the decisive fourth set.
Leading 9-7 in the first set, UCF rattled off a 9-1 streak to take an 18-9 edge that the Miners could overcome. The run was capped by an ace from Meredith Murphy (Austin, Texas), and Campbell ended the set with a service ace as the Knights got on the scoreboard early.
In a tightly-contested second set, UTEP pulled out a victory 27-25. The Knights had game point on two occasions, but the Miners pulled out the game late on back-to-back block assists by Patty Jarmoc. Campbell had 10 kills through the first two sets for the Knights.
It was the UCF defense that became a force in the third set, forcing the host Miners into 11 errors. Dagenais said Kristen Fisher (Clearwater, Fla.) was the key in set number three, as the sophomore finished the match with 17 kills.
"The big key point for us was when Kristen Fisher found her rhythm and confidence in the third game because UTEP was doing a very nice job making sure that Evija Vilde (Riga, Latvia) would have a hard time scoring," said Dagenais.
The Knights closed out the match in the fourth with their best hitting percentage of the night. Vilde added nine kills in the team's C-USA victory.
"This kind of grittiness will help us achieve our goals not only for the weekend but for also the rest of the season," said Dagenais.
UCF will return to action on Sunday in New Orleans, playing at Tulane at 2 p.m. The Knights will return home on Friday when the team hosts Rice at 7 p.m.
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