Sept. 1, 2005
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - The UCF volleyball team will face some of the top competition in the nation when it travels to Minneapolis, Minn. for the Diet Coke Classic, which starts Friday. The Golden Knights open the two-day event on Friday at 5:30 p.m., facing Xavier. On Saturday, the squad plays sixth-ranked Minnesota at 1:30 p.m. and then closes the event with a match against North Dakota State at 6 p.m.
ABOUT UCF The Golden Knights head to Minnesota for the Diet Coke Classic, looking for their first victory of the season. On Wednesday, UCF dropped a 3-1 (24-30, 30-23, 30-23, 30-22) match at in-state rival Jacksonville. Jana Mitchell tallied a career-high 16 kills in the loss. In only her second contest as a Golden Knight, Maina Heming added 14 kills.
Head coach Meg Colado is in her seventh season at UCF. She has a 126-84 (.600) overall coaching mark and is 111-68 (.620) with the Golden Knights.
UCF AGAINST THE FIELD The Golden Knights are 1-1 all-time versus Xavier. In the last meeting in 1995, the Musketeers claimed a 3-0 victory at the Pizza Inn Classic in Fayetteville, Ark. Minnesota holds a 5-0 series edge with UCF. The teams last played in 1996, meeting in the opening round of the NCAA Championship. Behind a 15-7 victory in game five, the host Golden Gophers won the match, 3-2. North Dakota State and the Golden Knights have never met in volleyball.
Minnesota will be making its season debut at the event while North Dakota State (0-3) and Xavier (3-0) both competed in tournaments last weekend.
STRONG START Junior college transfer Leah Alexander has excelled in her first two matches with the Golden Knights. The setter is averaging 8.11 assists per game and has tallied at least 30 assists in both contests. At Jacksonville, she recorded 43 assists.
ON THE ROAD... AGAIN UCF will not enjoy any homecooking at the start of the season as the Golden Knights first seven matches are all away from Orlando. The squad makes its 2005 home debut on Sept. 20 against Florida Atlantic. All but four of the team's first seven matches will be played in the state of Florida.
HEAVY HITTING One of the bright spots early on for UCF has been the play of Jana Mitchell. The junior middle blocker paces the team, averaging 3.11 kills per game. She had a career night at Jacksonville, finishing with 16 kills and five blocks versus the Dolphins. Mitchell also paces the squad with a .373 hitting percentage.
UCF SIDELINES The Diet Coke Classic is the only in-season tournament on the UCF schedule in 2005. Last season, the team competed in two tournaments... After spending time at setter last season, senior Katie Kohnen will play exclusively at libero in 2005... At 6-2, junior college transfer Vesna Ukic is the tallest outside hitter to play at UCF under head coach Meg Colado... Kohnen and Jana Mitchell have been selected by the coaching staff as team captains... Senior Chaz Arah recorded a season-best six blocks at Jacksonville.
ON DECK The Golden Knights return to action on Friday, Sept. 9, facing in-state foe Bethune-Cookman in Daytona Beach... All-time, UCF is 13-0 against the Wildcats, including a 3-0 (30-24, 30-26, 30-17) victory in 2004 in Orlando... Bethune-Cookman is a member of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. The Golden Knights are 36-3 all-time versus MEAC foes... Despite playing 13 matches all-time against the Wildcats, UCF has only played at Bethune-Cookman on one other occasion. The Golden Knights earned a 3-0 victory in 1987 in their only previous trip to Daytona Beach.