Volleyball

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First Round Firestorm
November 28, 2017
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ATHENS, Ga. (UCFKnights.com) - The UCF volleyball team extended its winning streak into the postseason on Tuesday afternoon with a sweep of UNC Greensboro (25-19, 25-18, 25-22) in the First Round of the National Invitational Volleyball Championship. The Knights (20-13) have now swept six of their last seven matches.

UCF held the Spartans (19-12) to a mere .059 hitting percentage, including a pair of sets under .060, behind some relentless defense. The Knights finished with eight rejections. Jeanne Westney was a brick wall at the net, leading the team with eight block assists. Anne-Marie Watson and Alli Sabol each sent three UNCG attacks back over the net, and Kia Bright blocked a pair of balls. When the Spartans managed to get an attack through the block, it was met by solid back row play. Topped by Bright's 10 digs, UCF had five players post five or more digs.

On the offensive side, Bright and Kristina Fisher powered the attack with 12 and 11 kills, respectively. Alli Sabol chipped in with five scoring swings. The Black and Gold hit .225 for the match and committed just 14 errors. Erin Olson and Miranda Watkins combined for 29 of the Knights' 36 assists. Jordan Pingel added five dimes, along with a pair of Taylor Wickey.

FINDING A WAY TO WIN THE FIRST
* The Knights jumped out to a 7-1 lead in the first set, never allowing the Spartans within two.
* The quick beginning cooled off as the Black and Gold tallied just six kills in the set.
* UCF's defense forced 11 UNCG errors and the Knights scored four service aces.
* Leading 17-15, the Knights closed the set on an 8-3 run with kills from Bright, Sabol and Fisher, along with a service ace from Mary Kate Painter.

OFFENSE GETS HOT
* After a slow start offensively in the first, the Knights hit .309 over the final two sets, including a .345 clip in the second.
* Bright struck for 11 kills in the second and third, while Fisher hammered nine.
* Four Knights notched hitting percentages over .300 in the last two games.
* Wickey and Westney were flawless during the stretch, combining for five kills.

DAGENAIS DIALOGUE
Head coach Todd Dagenais after the match.
On the match...
"This UNC Greensboro team was one of the best defensive teams that we've faced this year. They were scrappy like Tulsa and ECU. Those were two teams that we struggled with this year. I thought both teams were nervous in the first set, playing in the postseason for the first time. We were lucky enough to make fewer errors than them in the first set. I thought we did a great job of stabilizing in games two and three. We played our brand of volleyball - be offensive, smart defensively and be low error. I thought that's what we did. When it got close, I thought we did a good job of pulling away, and it was all from making plays. It just seemed that we came up with a timely transition kill or block that we needed to finish out the second and third."

On the play of Jeanne Westney...
"She did a nice job of reading the attack. Our serving game did a nice job of putting Jeanne in a position to get set up for some blocks. That serving game took away options, and she read a lot of those perfectly. I give her a lot of credit. She's grown up a lot this year, especially in the last eight weeks. To see her be a part of all eight blocks is something that we really want her to do for us."

On facing the Georgia...
"We're looking at a big, physical SEC team. They play the best in the nation. They've seen players a lot like ours before. They're certainly not going to be afraid of us. We're just going to have to go out and play with them and score. They are a very physical, jump, hit, block and serve team. It's going to come down to ball control for both teams. For us, running our offense the way we want to will be crucial.


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