ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) – Riding an 11-match winning streak, the eighth longest active mark in the nation, the UCF volleyball team will play the second half of a four-match homestand this weekend in The Venue. The Knights (14-3, 5-0) will square off with American Athletic Conference foes Temple on Friday at 7 p.m. and UConn on Sunday at 1 p.m.
Both matches will be streamed on UCFKnights.TV.
Here are five things to know heading into matches against Temple and UConn:
LAST TIME OUT
The Knights recorded a pair of key victories in The American last weekend over Tulsa and Wichita State. Facing two of the top defensive teams in the league, the Black and Gold relied on stellar back row play to limit opposing attacks, holding both teams below .200 hitting. Pingel was named The American Defensive Player of the Week for the second time this season with 6.38 digs per set. On Sunday, the Knights finished with 14 blocks, one shy of their season high.
TOP OF THE TABLE
The Black and Gold are tied atop The American with Cincinnati as the lone undefeated teams in league play. This season marks the second time that UCF is off to a 5-0 record in The American. The first time was back in 2014 when the Knights lifted their first conference title. UCF is also the highest ranked team in the NCAA RPI report from the conference, checking in at No. 14.
RECORDS ARE MEANT TO BE BROKEN
Heading into the weekend, libero Jordan Pingel is on the verge of breaking the career digs record. The Colorado Springs, Colo., native needs 46 digs, prior to the matches against Temple and UConn, to become the first Knight in history to amass 2,000 digs in a career. No stranger to the record book, Pingel already holds the second, third and fourth marks for single-season digs. This season, the lone senior is averaging 4.65 digs per set to rank sixth in the league.
With two wins, the Knights will become just the 24th team in NCAA Division I history to record 1,000 victories.
200 FOR TODD
With his next victory, entering the Temple, UConn weekend, head coach Todd Dagenais will become just the second coach in program history to reach 200 wins at UCF. Earlier this season, he passed Laura Smith (1991-97) for second all-time. He trails only Lucy McDaniel’s 236 wins (1975-1979) for the program record. Dagenais has guided the Knights to a pair of postseason appearances during his first 10 seasons at UCF.
>> Temple enters the weekend at 4-13 with a 1-4 mark in league action. The Owls are fourth in the league in blocks per set with 2.03. Iva Deak has powered the attack with a .313 hitting clip to rank sixth in the conference.
>> UConn (10-8, 2-3) is looking to bounce back from a pair of four-set losses to ECU and Cincinnati last weekend. Setter Emily Turner leads the American with 10.09 assists per set, the only player in double figures. The UCF attack will have to work through a Huskies defense that is allowing just 11.44 kills per set, the third fewest in the conference.
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