Oct. 3, 2013
By Andrew Jennette
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) - The UCF volleyball team kicks off October with its first full weekend of play in The American as it welcomes league foes UConn and Rutgers to Orlando this weekend. Putting their 8-1 record at The Venue on the line, the Knights (10-4, 1-0) will take on the Huskies (8-8, 0-2) Friday night at 7 p.m., and then battle the Scarlet Knights (4-12, 0-2) Sunday at 2 p.m.
Friday's match is themed as Latin Rhythm night. Fans are encouraged to come ready to cheer on the Knights and shake their hips to dance music throughout the contest.
For the first time this season, we have to start dealing with opponents we know absolutely nothing about, head coach Todd Dagenais said. That's always a challenge because from year to year, even though teams change, coaching philosophies typically don't change too much. UConn is a team that felt like coming into the year was no worse than the second best team in the conference and so they are confident in who they are and where they are going. On film, they have a left-handed middle that is very athletic and we'll have to do our best to contain her.
UCF has been dominating the conference stats leaders this season, and continued to do so in conference play. Angelica Crump (5.0 kills per set), Marie Reiterova (14.00 assists per set) and Jade Hayes (5.67 digs per set) all lead individual categories in conference games. Something has to give as UConn leads the league in service aces with 1.51 per set while the Knights pace the conference only allowing 0.82 aces per set.
What I do know about Rutgers is that I have a lot of respect of their coach (CJ Werneke), Dagenais continued. I think he does a fantastic job with his teams and their record is very deceiving. They are one of those teams with the tools where if they put everything together, they are really difficult to beat. We hope we can keep them out of system enough where they won't be able to put everything together offensively. They have all the tools and the fact they are well-coached and well-organized should allow them to be very competitive at the top of the conference.
The Black and Gold's defense will be tested by Rutgers sophomore outside hitter Alex Lassa. Lassa leads The American with 232 kills overall and ranks third in the conference at 3.57 per set. Fellow sophomore libero Ali Schroeter has shined on the back row as she ranks second in the league in both digs (319) and digs per set (4.83).