Aug. 25, 2005
TALLAHASSEE - The UCF volleyball team opens the 2005 campaign on the road, visting in-state power Florida A&M on Friday afternoon. The match at Gaither Gym is slated to begin at 5 p.m.
The contest will mark the season opener for both squads.
ABOUT UCF The Golden Knights open the 2005 campaign with a new look. The squad moves from the Atlantic Sun to Conference USA and welcomes six newcomers. Head coach Meg Colado's team does return seven letterwinners and three starters, highlighted by sophomore outside hitter Schanell Neiderworder, who averaged 2.33 kills per game as UCF posted an 8-15 mark a year ago. The squad closed the campaign with a five-match losing streak and is looking to start the 2005 season with a victory against the Rattlers.
A pair of junior college All-America selections - outside hitter Maina Heming and setter Leah Alexander - should contribute immediately. Freshman Lindsay Randazzo should see time right off the bat at libero, backing up senior Katie Kohnen.
Head coach Meg Colado is entering her seventh season at UCF. She has a 126-82 (.606) overall coaching mark and is 111-66 (.627) with the Golden Knights.
ABOUT FLORIDA A&M Florida A&M recorded a 28-3 mark in 2004, including a 10-0 record in Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference contests, finishing the season with a top-25 national ranking. The squad returns eight letterwinners, led by senior outside hitter Adriana Kostadinova. The Sofia, Bulgaria native was an honorable-mention All-America selection last season after averaging 4.70 kills per game. The Rattlers have won 27 of their last 28 contests.
Head coach Tony Trifonov is entering his eighth year at Florida A&M. He is 150-67 with the Rattlers. In the 2005 AVCA Preseason Poll, Florida A&M garnered 23 votes.
SERIES HISTORY UCF holds a 21-2 series edge against Florida A&M. The two squads last met in 1999 with the Golden Knights recording a 3-0 (15-6, 15-10, 15-9) victory in Orlando. All-time, UCF is 36-2 against MEAC foes. Later this season, the squad will visit Bethune-Cookman in Daytona Beach.
OPENING UP All-time, UCF is 14-14 in season openers. Under head coach Meg Colado, the Golden Knights are 2-4 to start the year. The squad has dropped two consecutive season openers, including a 3-1 loss in 2004 at Louisiana State. The Golden Knights have not opened a season at home since 2001. The match at Florida A&M marks the first time since 1994 that the team is not kicking off a season by participating in a tournament.
AROUND THE WORLD For the first time under head coach Meg Colado, UCF's roster features international players. A pair of junior college transfers at outside hitter have helped give the team a worldly look. Maina Heming hails from Sao Leopoldo, Brazil and Vesna Ukic is from Split, Croatia.
UCF SIDELINES Sophomore outside hitter Schanell Neiderworder was named a Conference USA "Player to Watch" prior to the start of the regular season. Despite battling injuries in 2004, she finished her freshman campaign averaging 2.30 kills per game and leading UCF with 463 total attempts... The Golden Knights have a new face on the sidelines as Kyle Peck recently joined the program as a volunteer assistant coach... After spending time at setter last season, senior Katie Kohnen will play exclusively at libero in 2005... At 6-2, junior Vesna Ukic is the tallest outside hitter to play at UCF under head coach Meg Colado... Kohnen and junior Jana Mitchell have been selected by the coaching staff as team captains.
ON DECK UCF returns to the court on Aug. 31, visiting Jacksonville at 7 p.m. The Golden Knights lead the all-time series, 38-13. The two former Atlantic Sun rivals met in the conference tournament in 2004, with the Dolphins taking a 3-0 (30-28, 30-23, 34-32) win in Orlando... Under head coach Meg Colado, UCF is 7-2 versus the Dolphins... Assistant coach Juanita Hitt played at Jacksonville from 1999-00 and was an assistant on the JU staff for the 2001 season.