Saturday Sweep, Tournament Title

CONWAY, Ark. ( - The 10-game road trip to start the 2017 campaign for the UCF volleyball team officially came to an end on Saturday, as the Knights topped Central Arkansas and Southern in a doubleheader at the UCA Classic. The Saturday sweep earned UCF the tournament title.

The Knights (5-5) knocked the Sugar Bears (8-1) from the ranks of the unbeaten with a 3-1 win (25-18, 25-23, 20-25, 25-19). In the tournament finale, UCF rolled over Southern (25-13, 25-13, 25-22) in its first sweep of the season.

Freshman Kristina Fisher was a force in the two matches, recording 29 kills with a .379 clip at the net. Fellow rookie Anne-Marie Watson impressed on Saturday with 16 kills and four block assists. The offense shined, committing fewer than 20 errors in both matches.

MATCH 1: UCF 3, Central Arkansas 1
Fisher totaled 21 of her scoring swings in the opener, joined in double figures by Kia Bright's 10. Four Knights recorded attacking clips above .230.

On the defensive side, UCF totaled 72 digs, the second highest total this season. Jordan Pingel notched 16, followed by Erin Olson's 14, while Kia Bright and Miranda Watkins checked in with 13.

Watkins and Olson ran the offense with precision, combining for 46 assists, split at 25 and 21, respectively.

The first set was a back-and-forth battle as neither side could open a sustainable lead. Tied at 17-17, the UCF attack ignited for seven of the next eight points. Anne-Marie Watson picked up a pair of kills, and Miranda Watkins dropped in two aces late in the game.

The Black and Gold was playing catch up in until the late stages of the second set. Down by four, 20-16, UCF rallied on a 9-3 run with a trio of kills from Fisher to take the game. The Knights held UCA to a hitting percentage of .000 for the second straight set.

The Sugar Bears found new life out of the break. Falling behind 14-9, the Knights were not able to stop UCA, as the tournament host hit a match-high .275.

As fast UCA started in the third, UCF started even quicker in the fourth. The Knights jumped out to an 8-2 lead, before the Sugar Bears could respond. The Black and Gold would not be denied, hitting .348 in the closing set.

* The UCF block was back in double figures for the fourth time this year with 10 rejections.
* Middle blocker Taylor Wickey finished with two solos and four block assists.
* Seven different Knights sent a UCA attack back over the net.

MATCH 2: UCF 3, Southern 0
The tournament finale was all Knights. UCF fired on all cylinders, totaling 61 points to 33 for the Jaguars. The Black and Gold tallied a .289 attack percentage, the second highest mark this season.

Spreading the wealth, seven different players for UCF notched a kill, but not one player finished above 10 on the night. Freshman Alex Fisher posted the first three assists of her career, joining Watkins' 25 and Olson's 12.

The sweep was the first for the Knights since Nov. 25, 2016, in the season finale against Houston.

The UCF defense dominated the Southern attack in the opening frame. The Knights held the Jaguars to a -.067 attack percentage. After Southern chipped the lead down to two, the Black and Gold went on a 15-5 run to close out the set.

The Jaguars put up more of a fight in the second to tie the set at 6-6, but that was as close as they would get to the lead. Five straight points sparked the Knights to score 18 of the final 25 points, while tallying a match-high .333 clip at the net.

Looking for their first sweep of the year, UCF took a commanding lead at 15-9. Southern was not finish, though, as the SWAC foes closed the game to one at 21-20. Kills from Fisher, Watson and Jeanne Westney put away the match.

* The Knights earned the UCA Classic title with a 2-2 record on the weekend.
* UCF finished with a .220 attack percentage, while holding opponents to a .156 clip.
* Eight players recorded a block with Watson, Wickey and Westney each tallying more than 10 blocks.

* In just her third week of college volleyball, Kristina Fisher was named to the UCA Classic Tournament MVP.
* The freshman finished the weekend with a team-high 49 kills and a .239 hitting percentage.
* Fisher ranks second on the team this season with 2.60 kills per set.
* Taylor Wickey joined Fisher with All-Tournament honors.

The Knights will not return to Orlando until Tuesday night. The team will remain in Conway and practice to prepare for its home opener next Friday against Virginia in The Venue for the UCF VolleyKnights Invitational.

Head coach Todd Dagenais after the match.
On his team's performance on the second day of the UCA Classic...
"I thought we showed the composure and the confidence on day two of the tournament that we had the first two weekends of the season. The team made a very conscious effort to focus on the details each of them were responsible for in order for our team to win. The win over in undefeated central Arkansas team was a huge step in the right direction as our team continues to grow and mature. I thought all of our newcomers really contributed to our success. We're all looking forward to see how this team grows together and continues to improve through the weeks."

On thinking about the UCF family in Hurricane Irma's path...
"While we are stuck here in Arkansas, our hearts and our heads are back with everybody in Florida hoping and praying for the best. We can't wait to come home and be part of the healing and rebuilding process. We want to do our part to help our community get back to a sense of normalcy as soon as possible."

UCF Volleyball hits the court for its 10th season under head coach Todd Dagenais. Don't miss a single minute of action at The Venue. Visit or call (407) 823-1000 for ticket information.

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