Knights Open Conference Play on High Note, Defeat UConn 3-0

Box Score (PDF) Plays of the Game

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) – UCF (8-5) looked electric Friday night in their 3-0 win over UConn (6-7), needing just three sets (25-16, 25-17, 25-11) to claim the victory and begin conference play 1-0 at The Venue in Orlando, Florida.

The Knights were in control all night, winning each set by a margin of eight or more. The momentum was on their side as they were backed once again by a strong supporting crowd at The Venue and they did not call a timeout at any point during the match.

"The preseason is over. This is really where everything – all of our goals, all of our dreams, everything for this year starts." UCF head coach Todd Dagenais said. "It is nice to go 1-0 and get to enjoy it for a while, but we have to prepare because we have to play Temple, who has really been on a roll. So, we have to turn around and prepare to play those guys."

Kristina Fisher led the charge for UCF, tallying 7 digs and 9 kills while hitting .471 on the night.  McKenna Melville also turned in a strong performance, notching a double-double with 15 kills and 12 digs while hitting at a .367 clip.

The victory marked the first conference win of the year for the Knights, as they continued on a 25-game conference win streak dating back to 2017. They continue conference action on Sunday, September 29, as they take on Temple at The Venue. The match is set to start at 12:00 p.m. ET.
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UConn came out strong to open the night, going up 6-2 before the Knights began to rally back. Kristina Fisher posted back-to-back kills to tie it and then subsequently put the Knights in the lead, 8-7. From there, UCF had the momentum. They went on a 9-0 scoring run to make it 13-7, and they would not relinquish the lead from there. Lache Harper knocked down a big kill to win the set, 25-16.

McKenzie Chambers started off the second set with a kill to put the Knights in the lead, and UCF looked solid, going up 10-4 before UConn called their first timeout of the set. Immediately following the timeout, Kristina Fisher recorded two kills to keep the momentum rolling for the Knights, putting them up 12-5. All-in-all, the UConn timeout didn't do much to slow the Knights down as they went up 16-7 before UConn had to use their second and final timeout of the set. The UCF lead continued to grow, and the Knights went up 22-11 before winning the set, 25-17

UCF started off the final set on a 4-0 scoring run before allowing the first opposing point. As with the previous two sets, the story was much of the same as UCF had the momentum all throughout the third and final set, going up 21-8 before winning 25-11.

On the team dynamic in the match:
"I thought our serving was excellent. I really thought our defense and our block was outstanding as we continue to be a great blocking team. Offensively, I think I was most excited that they were able to spread the ball around and we did not have to depend on outside hitters. The middles got involved. The right-sides were able to take care of their load, so we were really able to attack them from antenna to antenna."

On Melville's double-double:
"McKenna is a solid player, as evidenced by last year during her success, and it's about finding ways to make sure she is not overused. She went out and had thirty swings. That is only ten swings a set for fifteen kills. That is great efficiency."

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UCF continues conference action next weekend on Sunday, September 29, as they take on Temple. The match is set to start at 12:00 p.m. ET.