April 6, 2009
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - After posting its most successful season in five years last fall, the UCF volleyball team is proving that that the best do not rest, competing in a busy spring schedule. The Knights have already wrapped up two tournaments in their off-season, with two remaining on the slate.
Next on the agenda for the Black and Gold is a tournament at the Tampa Convention Center on Friday, where it will take on St. Leo at 6 p.m. and perennial Division II powerhouse Tampa at 7 p.m., before battling in-state rival USF in the finale at 8 p.m.
Following the event in Tampa, the Knights will take to the sand for their final week of practice in preparation for the Collegiate Beach Volleyball Challenge in Siesta Key, Fla. on Saturday, April 18. For the event, which will feature 15 different collegiate volleyball teams from around the country, the Knights will compete as pairs and battle for beach volleyball bragging rights.
Though the squad has been having fun on the court during the spring, it has also been working hard trying to improve its strength and conditioning.
"It has been a very interesting and productive spring for our team," head coach Todd Dagenais said. "The primary focus has been strength and conditioning. Tracy Prosser and our strength staff have done a fantastic job of preparing our student-athletes for the physical challenges of training and competing in Division I volleyball."
The Knights have also been spending time enhancing their individual skills, with student-athletes such as Renele Forde proving she can play more than one position on the court, stepping in and taking over the setter position where injuries have taken their toll.
"The secondary focus of spring is enhancing individual skill," Dagenais said. "The coaching staff has spent a lot of time working on-on-one with our student-athletes and we have seen significant improvements, especially in our younger players. Freshman middle hitter Renele (Forde) has done an admirable job of stepping in as our setter during spring competition."
The Knights posted a 15-17 overall record last fall, its best mark since 2003, and matched its best Conference USA record, going 6-10 in the fifth-toughest volleyball conference in the nation.
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