ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) – The UCF volleyball team returned home after a grueling three-week stretch on the road, but its efforts were spoiled as it was swept by UTEP (25-18, 25-21, 25-21) in front of a raucous crowd of 507 fans at VolleyBowl V in The Venue. The Knights (3-10, 0-1) fell to 2-3 all-time in VolleyBowl matches as the Miners (6-7, 1-1) picked up its first conference win of the season on the road.
It was a record-setting night for senior libero Meredith Murphy as she picked up 12 digs to shatter the UCF program record of 1,644 by Miriam Metzcus set in 1994. Murphy solidified herself as one of the greatest defensive players in UCF history with this record.
UCF was unable to clinch its fourth Conference USA-opening win since it joined the league in 2005. The loss also snapped the Knights sixth-match winning streak in the series and brought their all-time record to 6-5 against the visitors.
"We have been on the road for a very long time so it was exciting to finally get to play at home again. The crowd was awesome and was loud all night,” assistant head coach Michelle Chatman said after the match.
"We're doing a lot of positive things out there. Our passing has gotten a lot better. We're seeing the right things offensively, Chatman continued. “We just need to stay patient and the breakthrough will eventually come."
The Knights will have a quick turnaround as they head to New Orleans Saturday morning to face Tulane on Sunday at 1 p.m. This is the first of two split home and away weekends for UCF this season.
After dropping the first set, 25-18, UCF faced another early deficit in the second frame. With four digs to her name heading into the stanza, Murphy kept the Knights in a couple of furious rallies and collected her 1,645 career dig while leading the squad on a 10-2 run to tie up the set at 19-all. After a UTEP timeout, the Miners would take six of the next eight points to take the frame, 25-21, and a 2-0 lead.
The third set featured much of the same for the Miners as middle blocker Xitali Herrera continued her dominant performance. The junior from Juarez, Mexico, finished the match with 16 kills, 10 digs and a pair of blocks while hitting a spectacular .560 percentage.