ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKNights.com) – For the first time in three weeks, the UCF volleyball team will return home to play in The Venue. Tied atop the American Athletic Conference, the Knights (12-3, 3-0) will face two of the top teams in the league in Tulsa on Friday night at 7 p.m. and Wichita State on Sunday at 1 p.m.
Sunday’s match against the Shockers will be Dollar Hot Dog Day. Both matches will be streamed through UCFKnights.TV.
Here are five things to know before this weekend’s matches:
1. LAST TIME OUT
UCF remained perfect in The American with a pair of wins on the road last weekend. The Knights opened the road trip with a 3-1 victory at Tulane. Four Knights were in double figures in kills, led by Anne-Marie Watson’s 14, while a quartet also posted double-digit digs. The Black and Gold rallied for a first-set defeat to post three straight frames with at least 14 kills. On Sunday, UCF notched its sixth sweep of the year behind a cool .309 hitting percentage at Memphis. Kristina Fisher was flawless with 11 kills on 20 swings.
2. ATTACK ON FIRE
The Black and Gold boasts one of the best attacks in the nation this season with 14.11 kills per set. The offense leads The American and ranks 16th nationally. Much of the Knights’ success has come from setters Erin Olson and Amber Olson creating a balanced attack. UCF also leads the league in assists per set with 13.43, which ranks 15th in the country. A trio of Knights are averaging more than 2.5 kills per set, led by Melville’s 4.26, which is 27th in Division I and second in the conference.
3. DEFENDING HOME COURT
Through a pair of tournaments, the Knights are undefeated at home, winning both the UCF Challenge and the VolleyKnights Invitational. Melville was named MVP of both tournaments. UCF’s attack has played even better in The Venue, with a .282 clip at home compared to .232 on the road. Opponents have found it difficult to find their rhythm offensively, as the Knights have held visitors to just .174 hitting, aided by 2.78 blocks per set. Middles Nerissa Moravec and Kathryn Wesolich have led the way at the net with matching 1.16 block per set marks.
4. ALUMNAE WEEKEND ANNOUNCED
Earlier this week, head coach Todd Dagenais officially announced the UCF Volleyball Alumnae Weekend for Nov. 9-10. The Knights are inviting any for UCF volleyball players to come back for a fun, action-packed weekend during Homecoming. Friday will start with the Knights’ match against Cincinnati, which will be free admission for all fans, followed by a social with the team and the staff. On Saturday, Varsity Knights will host a tailgate prior to the UCF Football game, which volleyball alumnae will receive a special ticket price. For more information about registration, contact Tony Daniel at TDaniel@athletics.ucf.edu.
5. THE OPPOSITION
>> Friday night’s match will be a battle for supremacy in The American. Tulsa is 3-0 to start league play and 11-4 on the year. The Golden Hurricane delivered Wichita State its first ever defeat in conference action since joining The American. Anchored by reigning American Athletic Conference Libero of the Year Taylor Horsfall, Tulsa leads the conference in digs per set with 18.13.
>> Wichita State fell to 7-7 on the year and 2-1 in The American after the loss to Tulsa. Despite a .500 record, the Shockers hold the eighth toughest strength of schedule in the country. Wichita State has one of the most balanced attacks in the conference, as five players average at least two kills per set, led by Megan Tafinger’s 2.89.
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