UCF Defeats FAU in Opening Knight Victory

ORLANDO – The Black and Gold kicked off their 2021 season with a convincing, 3-1 victory over FAU on Tuesday to start the year on a high note.
"[FAU's] defense is as good as anybody's that we will play in conference," said UCF head coach Todd Dagenais. "This was a perfect test for us at this time of the year… they made us work and I give them a lot of credit for that."
The Knights came out slow in the first set, falling behind to the Owls, 5-2, before climbing back to tie it at six apiece. MaKenzie Chambers came out hitting strong as the second-year Knight hit at a 1.000 clip for four kills in the set. Unfortunately, it would not be enough as FAU took the set, 25-19 to put UCF in a pinch early.
UCF battled back big in the second set, taking the first three points and not looking back to cruise to a 25-17 set victory. The Knights kept that momentum rolling into the third set as Dagenais's squad went up 12-7 before FAU called a timeout to try to slow the game down. That strategy did not pan out as the Knights would go on to win the third set 25-12, their biggest margin of victory on the night.
By the time the fourth set came around, the Knights seemed to be in complete control of the match, going up 5-0 before allowing their first point against them. UCF would only grow it's lead in the final set, eventually going on to win 25-14 to get off to the perfect, 1-0 start to the new season.
The Knights defense was a large factor in the win. After not recording one block in the first set loss, UCF put it together in the final three sets with 12 total team blocks, including six in the finals set alone. Nerissa Moravec and Tali Marmen each chimed in with five blocks assists, while Kathryn Wesolich came through with seven on the night to help lead UCF to victory.
After only seeing action in 60 sets in 2019, MaKenzie Chambers looked to prove why she should be an every-set contributor for the Knights in 2021. The second-year Knight had 10 kills in the contest and did so while hitting at an incredible .615 clip. UCF veterans McKenna Melville and Anne-Marie Watson also kicked in double-digit kill totals with 13 and 11, respectively.  
Meanwhile, FAU's biggest contributions came from Scherine Dahoue, who led both teams in kills on the night with 18. The offense ran through Dahoue as she had a total of 42 attacking opportunities in the contest.
Following the cancellation of the Stetson match, UCF's next match will be Saturday, Jan. 30 against UNF. It will be at the home of the Knights – The Venue in Orlando, Fla.
[On FAU]
"When they start getting it together, they are going to be a really good team because they serve well and ball handle extremely well. They're defense is as good as anybody's that we will play in conference. This was a perfect test for us at this time of the year… they made us work and I give them a lot of credit for that."
[On the first set loss]
"That first set, I thought they played really well. We also missed a lot of serves and easy blown coverages. I think like twenty-two percent of their points were our errors. That is way to high. We gave them double that points that we should have, and they took advantage of it. But afterward, we settled down, didn't change our game plan at all and just executed what we came out to do from the first set."
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