April 27, 2010
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF volleyball team wrapped up the non-competitive spring season Saturday in Jacksonville. The squad faced host UNF and three-time NCAA National Champion Penn State both indoors and on the beach courts.
The Black and Gold were excited about its opportunity to play arguably the best team in NCAA volleyball history, the Nittany Lions.
"We very much anticipated to run our offense against such a big block," head coach Todd Dagenais said. "It was a great opportunity for our outside hitters to create shots in very tight spaces. The only way to replicated hitting against two All-Americans is to play two All-Americans. Having this opportunity gave our team the confidence to be fearless against physical opponents. It also showed them that although physicality is important, execution of skill is crucial. We are all very thankful that UNF hosted this event and that Penn State made the trek from State College to make it a memorable day."
The morning consisted of organized scrimmage drills, followed by the afternoon which was spent on the beach courts. The day allowed the team to continue to use the skills they have been working so diligently on this spring including working on both offensive and defensive systems.
Making her post-injury debut, junior Brittanie Wallace (Austin, Texas) had an opportunity to play outside for the first time since the fall.
"Very few people have ever worked as hard as Brittanie to come back from an injury so strongly," Dagenais said. "We look forward to her having a productive summer and returning stronger than ever in August."
After the early part of the day was spent indoors, all three squads went outside and finished the day on a fun note on the beach courts. Freshman Marie Reiterova (Luxembourg, Luxembourg) and Jennifer Belew (St. Louis, Miss.) finished third along with beach veteran Kristin Fisher (Clearwater, Fla.) and her partner Tory McCutcheon (Milton, Ontario) who also finished the day in third place.
The Knights closed-out this spring season with momentum to carry them through the summer. They are excited about the opportunities this spring has provided them and cannot wait to show their fall schedule the new sense of competitiveness they have acquired throughout this spring.
"If we lined up all of our goals and wrote them on a piece of paper, we accomplished every one of them," Dagenais said. "The team worked extremely hard in practice to improve their overall games. Our offensive systems are executing at a higher level than we have seen since we've been here and our defense and ball control are strong enough to keep us in any match against any level of competition."
Even though the team has worked extremely hard in the training gym, they missed out on much time getting stronger in the weight room and building up their overall fitness. But dedication and drive will guide this team to make up for the lost time away from the weight room as they will come back this summer with a high level of motivation and determination to set a new standard for their play in Conference USA. The squad will return to action in August when they report back for preseason.
For the latest news on the Knights, log on to www.UCFAthletics.com - the official site for UCF varsity sports. The site, which also contains ticket and Golden Knights Club donor information, is also the home of UCF's new online apparel store. Also visit www.UCFPhotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.