Sept. 17, 2013
By Andrew Jennette
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) - After a second-place finish in Atlanta last weekend, the UCF volleyball team returns to the friendly confines of The Venue at UCF when it hosts Jacksonville on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The Dolphins (9-0) arrive in Orlando winners of three-consecutive tournaments.
The match will also serve as Hawaiian Night as fans will have the chance to partake in fun in-game activities such as shark bait races and limbo contests while also taking home leis and limited edition mini volleyball rubber duckies.
As they approach the end of non-conference play, the Knights (8-3) have boasted one of the nation's most efficient offenses, ranking sixth in the country with a .333 team hitting percentage. Junior middle blocker DeLaina Sarden has led the charge as she holds a .552 mark on 94 kills, good for second in the nation. The Lawrenceville, Ga., native's 94 smacks are the second-most amongst the top 20 ranked players in hitting percentage, proving just how strong she has been at the net.
Backing Sarden this season has been senior outside hitter Angelica Crump. Crump was named to the Georgia State Invitational All-Tournament Team for her performance last weekend, which included 73 kills in four matches and a new career high with 25 blasts against Davidson. The Atlanta, Ga., native is hitting for a higher percentage in 2013 (.266) than she did in her AVCA Honorable Mention All-American season in 2011 (.263).
Having accrued the best record in the A-Sun to date, JU look to keep it sizzling start going in its first non-tournament match this year. Sammie Strausbaugh received her second Tournament MVP nod in as many weeks and has 120 kills in 33 sets (3.64 per set). If the Dolphins are victorious on Wednesday, they will match their win record from last season when they closed out at 10-24.
UCF and JU are no strangers on the volleyball court, having played against each other 56 times with the Knights holding a 41-15 edge in the all-time series. The Black and Gold swept Jacksonville during last season's UCF Classic.