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Facing Rivals in Florida
August 31, 2017
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ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) - The UCF volleyball team continues its nine-match road swing to start the year with the Homewood Suites Sunshine State Classic, hosted by Florida Gulf Coast, this weekend. The Knights will square off with Florida Atlantic and FGCU on Friday at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m., respectively, before a 1:30 p.m. start against Miami on Saturday.

"I think the biggest jump I'd like to see this week is in our defense," head coach Todd Dagenais said. "I thought last week we played pretty well, but not to the brand of defense that we like to bring to the floor. I think that's an opportunity to improve. I'd like to see us continue with our composure and poise in tight matches, because we will be in tight matches against three good teams this weekend.

"We have to come out and play one match at a time, but we want to be successful and go 3-0 this weekend. Doing that will let us take the next step. Defensively, we want to hold teams and players under the numbers that they hit last week. We want to get our offense to advance one more step. We would like to hit consistently in the upper .200s. We also want to take a big jump defensively this week."

UCF is 1-2 on the season after a trip out to Colorado to start the year. The Knights knocked off Northern Colorado in five sets in the season opener. Four players finished the night in double-figure kills, led by Kia Bright with 19. Saturday was a test of endurance for the Black and Gold, taking Duke to five sets, before pushing Colorado State to the brink in a four-set contest.

* Kia Bright finished opening weekend with an American Athletic Conference best 52 kills.
* The Starke, Fla., ranks fourth in the AAC in kills per set with 3.71.
* Bright needs 41 kills in order to become the 12th player in program history to reach the 1,000 career mark.

* The Knights recorded double-figure blocks in each of the three opening weekend matches.
* The 33 blocks ranks 38th in the nation.
* Taylor Wickey sits fifth in the AAC in total blocks with 14.
* Eight different players have recorded a block this season.

* UCF continues its longstanding rivalry with Florida Atlantic, as the two side meet up for the 40th time. The Knights lead series 30-9.
* The Knights are 2-1 against FGCU with the last contest taking place in 2011.
* The Black and Gold hold a slight 12-9 advantage over the Hurricanes.

* The Sunshine State Classic will be a tough test for the Knights, as all three opponents enter the weekend with an undefeated 3-0 record.
* FAU swept all three matches against Central Connecticut, Stephen F. Austin and Stetson last weekend. The Owls lead the nation in kills and assists per set at 17.11 and 16.44, respectively.
* FGCU won in straight sets against FIU, Georgia Southern and IUPUI. While the Owls rank first in kills per set, the Eagles follow in second at 16.22.
* Miami dropped sets against Little Rock and Southern Miss., before sweeping Nicholls last week. Olga Strantzali was named the ACC Player of the Week after totaling 64 kills.

UCF Volleyball hits the court for its 10th season under head coach Todd Dagenais. Don't miss a single minute of action at The Venue. Visit UCFKnights.com or call (407) 823-1000 for ticket information.

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