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USF vs. UCF is more than just a rivalry to junior Dakota Hampton

The rivalry between USF and Central Florida will be rekindled tonight, but for junior outside-hitter Dakota Hampton, the match will be personal.

The junior will face her former teammate, UCF outside-hitter Maddie Haggerty. The two competed on the same club volleyball team in their native Chicago.

Last time the two squared off, in Orlando on Oct. 21, the rivalry ran deeper than school affiliation.

“It was kind of like a rivalry against UCF and then me against her,” Hampton said.

Hampton recorded a double-double with 10 kills and 14 digs. Haggerty had 10 kills and seven digs.

“It’s pretty funny because we both play the same position,” Hampton said. “She won that night, so I was texting her back and forth after the game, and I was like, ‘Man, it was close.’”

USF took the first set before dropping the next three in a loss.

“It’s still pretty fresh in our kids’ minds,” USF coach Courtney Draper said.

Since then, UCF (13-11, 7-5) has won all three of its matches, and USF (8-16, 5-7) has won two of three, including a come-from-behind victory over Houston in five sets.

“I think we’re probably a better offensive team than we were a few weeks ago when we played them,” Draper said. “I think that they have more trends in their offense than they did a couple weeks ago as well, so I think we have a better idea of what they want to do against us, and we will try and shut those players down.”

Hampton looks to keep her momentum going, as she carries a nine-match double-double streak into tonight.

“(Hampton) had to be a major contributor for us since the day she got here,” Draper said. “She’s gained a lot of experience, but now as a junior, as an upperclassman, she’s really looked to as a leader in a lot of different ways.”

Hampton will help lead the Bulls, and this time around, she will have the support that comes with a home-court advantage.

“Having that support of our fans, of our friends and family, it’s everything,” Hampton said. “It can shift the game. It’s all about momentum in volleyball, and having fans is a big thing.”

The Bulls will also play the match in the Sun Dome for the second time this season. The last time the team played in the Sun Dome, on Sept. 19, more than 2,000 attended the USF Invitational featuring Auburn and No. 1 Penn State.

“I think our kids get really excited to play in a different venue that’s still a home venue,” Draper said.

Regardless of the location and opponent, Hampton is approaching this match with the same mindset.

“You’ve just got to treat every game the same,” Hampton said. “I know it’s a rivalry game, and I’m going to be 110 percent, but you just have to forget about the past and move on.”

Since their last matchup, UCF has won all three of its matches while USF has won two of three heading into the rivalry game. ORACLE FILE PHOTO/ADAM MATHIEU

The rivalry between USF and Central Florida will be rekindled tonight, but for junior outside-hitter Dakota Hampton, the match will be personal.

The junior will face her former teammate, UCF outside-hitter Maddie Haggerty. The two competed on the same club volleyball team in their native Chicago.

Last time the two squared off, in Orlando on Oct. 21, the rivalry ran deeper than school affiliation.

“It was kind of like a rivalry against UCF and then me against her,” Hampton said.

Hampton recorded a double-double with 10 kills and 14 digs. Haggerty had 10 kills and seven digs.

“It’s pretty funny because we both play the same position,” Hampton said. “She won that night, so I was texting her back and forth after the game, and I was like, ‘Man, it was close.’”

USF took the first set before dropping the next three in a loss.

“It’s still pretty fresh in our kids’ minds,” USF coach Courtney Draper said.

Since then, UCF (13-11, 7-5) has won all three of its matches, and USF (8-16, 5-7) has won two of three, including a come-from-behind victory over Houston in five sets.

“I think we’re probably a better offensive team than we were a few weeks ago when we played them,” Draper said. “I think that they have more trends in their offense than they did a couple weeks ago as well, so I think we have a better idea of what they want to do against us, and we will try and shut those players down.”

Hampton looks to keep her momentum going, as she carries a nine-match double-double streak into tonight.

“(Hampton) had to be a major contributor for us since the day she got here,” Draper said. “She’s gained a lot of experience, but now as a junior, as an upperclassman, she’s really looked to as a leader in a lot of different ways.”

Hampton will help lead the Bulls, and this time around, she will have the support that comes with a home-court advantage.

“Having that support of our fans, of our friends and family, it’s everything,” Hampton said. “It can shift the game. It’s all about momentum in volleyball, and having fans is a big thing.”

The Bulls will also play the match in the Sun Dome for the second time this season. The last time the team played in the Sun Dome, on Sept. 19, more than 2,000 attended the USF Invitational featuring Auburn and No. 1 Penn State.

“I think our kids get really excited to play in a different venue that’s still a home venue,” Draper said.

Regardless of the location and opponent, Hampton is approaching this match with the same mindset.

“You’ve just got to treat every game the same,” Hampton said. “I know it’s a rivalry game, and I’m going to be 110 percent, but you just have to forget about the past and move on.”