By Andrew Jennette
FAIRFIELD, Conn. (UCFAthletics.com) -The UCF volleyball team got off to the start it was looking for to open the weekend as the Knights swept host Sacred Heart, 3-0 (25-15, 25-17, 25-18), Friday on day one of the SHU Hampton Inn Shelton Invitational. The Black and Gold earned their first road triumph of the season with the victory.
The Knights (3-4) hit a season-best .387 while holding the Pioneers (1-7) to just a .147 mark. UCF only had six attack errors for the entire match and recorded at least 12 kills and a .367 attack percentage in each set.
We're been waiting all year to be a team of consistency and I thought we were a picture of consistency tonight, head coach Todd Dagenais explained. We had a nearly identical similar number of kills and a steady hit percentage every set. We made so few errors. We just made it really tough to be beaten tonight.
Sacred Heart is an extremely well coached team. It has one of the best five-year winning percentages of any team in the entire country recently and that's why we came up here and played them, Dagenais continued. They are going to rebound quickly. They've played an extremely tough schedule thus far. They are such a high RPI team that all the big schools want to play them. This is a huge win for us.
UCF will look to maintain its momentum as it wraps up the tournament with a doubleheader on Saturday. The Knights will take on Fairfield tomorrow at 10 a.m. and will battle Dartmouth at 3 p.m.
Offensively, the Knights featured a balanced effort led by redshirt junior Angelica Crump who racked up 10 kills. Five other Knights cracked at least four kills and with four players hitting over .400. The Black and Gold got off to their traditional hot start, winning the first set for the sixth time this season in seven matches. UCF racked up 13 kills and four blocks in the first frame en route to taking the set, 25-15. Crump paced the Knights with five kills in the stanza and she was backed by sophomore DeLaina Sarden and senior Evija Vilde who registered three kills each.
Tied 8-8 in the second frame, three-consecutive service aces by Vilde gave the Knights an 11-8 advantage that they would never relinquish as they took the set, 25-17. Two additional aces by redshirt sophomore Marie Reiterova gave the Knights a season-high five service aces in the period. Redshirt freshman Kayla Keller smashed five of her eight kills in the set.
The Knights kept the pedal to the floor and finished off their third sweep of the season in the third stanza, 25-18. Senior Tory McCutcheon picked up three of her four kills in the frame and was strong defensively with a team-high five blocks. The Knights out-blocked the Pioneers 8-0 in the match.