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Monday Rewind
September 05, 2016
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ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com)--The UCF volleyball team played three matches at the Saluki Invitational at Southern Illinois University. The Knights posted a 2-1 record, and won the invitational after holding the tie breaker over Northern Arizona.

"I thought it was a pretty successful road trip, it was one of those tournaments that when we scheduled early, we knew we were scheduling three teams that were going to be ranked anywhere between 30 and 80 or 90. Those are the kind of matches that we have to play to build our NCAA resume," said head coach Todd Dagenais. "Going 2-1 in a tournament that we could have been 0-3 (or) could have been 3-0, we look at it as 'was it the best possible outcome? No. Was it a pretty close second? Yes.' It was a very successful tournament."

UCF opened the tournament with a barn-burner match against host school, SIU. The Knights dropped the match 3-2(19-25, 31-29, 26-24, 25-27, 10-15). The team recorded 68 kills, 64 assists and 78 digs. Jalé Hervey led the team with 24 kills, hitting .268 with three aces.

"This is one of those matches, where last week we faced a top-50 team and we were able to overcome and get a win," Dagenais said. "This week, we stepped in the gym with a top-40, maybe even a top-30, team and played them as tight as you could without winning. I think our team grew a lot and we showed a lot of character. We just came out of it on the wrong side this time."

The Black and Gold started Saturday action with a 3-1 (19-25, 25-16, 25-23, 25-22) victory over Northern Arizona. Hervey recorded 17 kills, while Alli Sabol had 12, Taylor Gallart and Ann Richards tallied 11 and 10 kills, respectively. Jordan Pingel recorded 29 digs in the match.

"Knowing the extreme challenge we were going to go through in this tournament - playing three teams that are in the top 50 in the nation and having to do so on the road - we knew there was a possibility of coming down here and going 0-3," said Dagenais. "This is a very important win for our program. All the tools were there for us to put things together, and when we do, I think we are a very formidable opponent."

On Saturday evening, UCF took on Western Michigan. The Knights won 3-0 (25-23, 25-9, 25-17). Gallart logged 17 kills, hitting .727, with three aces.

"I thought that was our best complete match, from beginning to end, this year," said Dagenais. "We were really solid, especially on the defensive end of things. I thought we did a nice job of monitoring our cues. Our pin blockers did a great job of getting in front of Western Michigan's outside hitters. I think our serving game limited their middles, because they are a middle dominated team, who have the ability to take over the match."

Pingel was named tournament MVP after tallying 66 digs during the weekend. Hervey and Gallart were both placed on the All-Tournament Team.

The Knights returns to The Venue as they host the Holiday Inn Orlando East UCF Area Classic on Sept. 9-11. UCF will open the weekend against Florida Atlantic on Friday, Sept., 9 at 11 a.m.

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