By Megan Herboth
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) - In the lone match of the weekend, the UCF volleyball team heads to East Carolina to take on the Pirates at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
"For us, it's about making sure that we handle our side of the net on the road," UCF head coach Todd Dagenais said. "We have to find ways to make sure that they don't string the good plays together. When they do string those plays together, they are a good team."
The Knights stand at 12-5 overall record have a 5-0 record in The American, the only team unbeaten in conference action. The Knights used a late 5-0 run on Wednesday night to storm back and hand in-state rival USF a 3-1 loss in The Corral and maintain their undefeated conference record.
UCF travels to East Carolina for the 17th meeting in the series. The Knights hold a 9-8 edge all-time, sweeping the last matches in 2012. The Pirates stand at 8-5 on the season, with a 1-3 mark in The American.
Though the Knights face a familiar opponent, having faced East Carolina in Conference USA, the Pirates have a different look this time around.
"(East Carolina) is a completely different team [than when we faced them in Conference USA]," Dagenais said. "(ECU coach) Julie (Torbett) has doing a great job of taking the assets that she has and putting them in the right position to be able to score."
ECU will also have a face on its bench that UCF fans are used to seeing in black and gold. Volunteer assistant coach Rachel Dodson, formerly Rachel Vukson, is a UCF Volleyball alum, playing for the Knights from 2010-2011.
Sydney Darden averages 2.96 kills per set for ECU, while Ashton Mares averages 2.56 kills per set. Darden leads the Pirates with a 2.65 digs per set average, while Lauren Bewick averages 2.55 digs per set. Mares has served up a team-high 15 aces, while Ashley McRae has tallied 42 blocks, including four solo on the season.
Atop The American
UCF leads the American Athletic Conference in three categories, including hitting percentage. The Knights are hitting .280 as a team this season. UCF also holds the top spot in assists (13.85) and kills (14.67). The Knights rank third in digs (15.87) and fifth in blocks per set (2.09).
After a pair of all-round performances last weekend, sophomore outside hitter Kia Bright was named The American Offensive Player of the Week. Bright earned her first weekly honor, while UCF picked up its second of the season.
The NCAA released the first volleyball RPI on Monday and UCF is ranked 28th in the first ranking, the highest ranking for the Knights.
The Black and Gold are also ranked 28th in the Rich Kern RKPI and are the second team in the Midwest region.
By the Numbers
UCF ranks fourth in the nation with 13.85 assists per set. The Knights' 14.67 kills per set ranks seventh in Division I this season, while their .280 hitting percentage ranks 14th.
Individually, senior Kaye-Alese Green ranks 18th with a .411 hitting percentage. Senior DeLaina Sarden ranks 29th in the nation with a .389 hitting percentage.
Sarden's .366 career hitting percentage ranks sixth among active players. With 394 total blocks, Sarden ranks 22nd on the active player career leaderboard and her 1,024 career kills ranks 73rd.
UCF Volleyball is presented by Radisson- UCF Area. For more information on how to purchase tickets, visit UCFKnights.com or call 407-UCF-1000.