ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) – Powered by an extremely efficient performance from sophomore DeLaina Sarden, the UCF volleyball team defeated UAB, 3-1 (22-25, 25-18, 25-21, 25-20) at The Venue on Parents Night. The Knights (13-14, 10-5 C-USA) hit .259 for the match and denied 12 shots at the net.
Sarden put together the second-most efficient performance in program history as she blasted 17 kills on 20 attempts with no errors for a .850 attack percentage. Senior Evija Vilde was nearly as impressive as she led the team with 18 kills while committing just one error. Senior Meredith Murphy dug out 17 shots to extend her double-digit digs streak to 15 consecutive matches.
“For our players it’s really special to be able to play in front of their parents. We have some players that are local, but many of our players are from all over the country and in some cases all over the world,” head coach Todd Dagenais said. “It’s extra special when you get a chance to play in front of your family, especially when you play really well like they did tonight.”
The Knights will wrap up their C-USA schedule when they host Memphis at 1 p.m. on Sunday. The team will also honor Murphy, Vilde, Dani Harrison and Tory McCutcheon with a Senior-Day ceremony immediately following the match.
After dropping a back-and-forth opening set, 25-22, the Knights bounced back and won set two behind six kills from Vilde and another five from Sarden. The two did not record a single error in 18 attempts in the frame as the Knights hit .375 overall in the stanza.
Redshirt junior Angelica Crump led the charge in the third set as she smacked five of her 12 kills as the Knights took the frame, 25-21. Crump was joined by McCutcheon who had two kills and one block in the middle. Redshirt sophomore Marie Reiterova dished out 15 of her team-high 57 assists in the third.
With a key victory on the horizon, the Black and Gold kept the pedal to the floor in the fourth set. The Sarden, Crump and Vilde front line proved to be too much for the Blazers as the three combined for 11 of the Knights’ 15 kills in the final stanza that saw UCF close out the match, 25-20. With the win, the Knights moved into a tie for third place in the C-USA standings.