TULSA, Okla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Senior Evija Vilde was one of three Knights to record double-digit kills as the UCF volleyball team defeated Marshall, 3-1 (26-28, 25-18, 25-20, 25-21), to advance to the semifinals of the Conference USA Volleyball Championship at the Donald W. Reynolds Center on Friday. The Knights (15-14, 12-5) defeated the Thundering Herd (18-13, 8-9) for the second time this season.
Vilde put together an impressive all-around performance with 17 kills, seven digs and four blocks. The senior from Latvia was joined on the outside by redshirt junior Angelica Crump who blasted 15 kills. Sophomore DeLaina Sarden continued her efficient play at the net as she smacked nine kills (.471) and denied six shots.
Redshirt sophomore Marie Reiterova put together a huge 52-assist, 10-dig double-double and was backed defensively on the back row by senior Meredith Murphy who recorded 14 digs and a career-high 13 digs from junior Roxy Mendez.
"The first set was very disappointing because we had some great opportunities," head coach Todd Dagenais said after the win. "But we didn't win the set because of lack of execution, Marshall just made incredible plays. It always seems like when we play Marshall it seems like it comes down to which team plays better after 20 (points) and they did that in the first set. Their defense was incredible."
"We had to maintain balance offensively to win," Dagenais continued. "Marshall is so good at game planning that our only chance to keep them off balance was to make sure we got everyone involved in the right situations offensively. We didn't necessarily do it at the level we have been doing it the last couple weeks, but when you get into the tournament, it's sometimes ugly volleyball and you can struggle to find rhythm and consistency. I'm really proud our team maintained its composure and was able to come back win the next three sets."
UCF hit .185 (58-28-162) while holding The Herd to a .158 attack clip (49-25-154). The Black and Gold tallied 69 digs compared to Marshall's 63, and had 55 assists compared to just 46.
After dropping a back-and-forth opening set, UCF responded and took three-consecutive frames to earn the victory.