Oct. 4, 2013
By Andrew Jennette
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) - In a tightly-contested battle at The Venue, the UCF volleyball team dug deep and earned a hard-fought, five-set victory (16-25, 25-22, 25-15, 14-25, 15-11) over UConn on Friday night. The Knights (11-4, 2-0 The American) improved to 9-1 in the friendly confines of Orlando, the best home mark in the conference.
It was a defense-oriented match all evening as both teams hit under .200, with the Huskies (8-9, 0-3) edging the Knights in attack percentage, .196-.171. However, unforced errors proved to be the difference as UConn made a total of 39, including 13 on serve, while the Black and Gold limited their miscues to just 23 with only a pair coming on serve.
Kills were hard to come by tonight, head coach Todd Dagenais said. We are going to find ourselves in these kind of battles in conference all year long. If you just looked at the stats and covered up the result, you wouldn't know who won or lost. We were outhit, but we made far less errors and that made a big difference. I told the team before we started this match that we had to win the serving battle and we did.
Sophomore Dani Jenkins got her number called upon in the final two sets as she saw extensive action as a serving and defensive specialist. Jenkins, who had played in just 10 sets on the season coming into the match, was on serve for three critical points in the clinching fifth set.
Dani prepares for these kind of moments every day in practice, Dagenais continued. We told her before the season that her most likely role this year was going to be as a serving and defensive specialist and when it happens it would happen in critical moments like tonight. She serves against the A side and puts a tough ball on them every day in practice. You have to have unselfish role players who work hard and make the most of their opportunities like D.J. on your team to win championships.
The Knights' back row of defense shined all night as junior libero Jade Hayes led the way with 21 digs, marking her 10th-consecutive match with at least 10 digs. Freshman Shelby Foyer tied her career-high with 14 digs while senior Roxy Mendez picked up 10. It was the first time this season that the Knights had four players record double-digit digs.
On Sunday, the Knights will welcome Rutgers to campus. The Scarlet Knights are a perfect 2-0 against UCF all-time, however the last meeting between the two squads came back in 1983.