ORLANDO – The 6-0 UCF volleyball team will look to maintain its perfect record later this week as the Knights travel to Philadelphia, Pa. to begin conference action in a two-match series with the Temple Owls from Feb. 18-19.
Originally scheduled for 5:00 p.m., the Thursday afternoon match has since been moved forward to 1:00 p.m. due to weather. Friday's match is still set for a 5:00 p.m. first serve.
"With the cold system moving through Philadelphia later this week, both coaches decided to move our Thursday match up in the afternoon to 1:00 p.m. to allow for safer traveling," said UCF Volleyball head coach Todd Dagenais. "Starting our conference schedule on the road is no easy challenge, but our team is up for it and ready for that challenge."
Live stats will be provided for both matches and they will also be available to watch live on ESPN+.
As of Feb. 16, only UCF and Wichita remained undefeated across all American Athletic Conference programs to begin the season. The Knights started red hot with a 6-0 nonconference record before enjoying a bye week last weekend as conference matches began.
The Knights last started the season 6-0 in 2014 before going on to win their first AAC title in the same year. In 2010, they started 7-0. UCF has never won eight straight to begin the season under head coach Todd Dagenais.
UCF is also being nationally recognized for its hot start to the season as the Knights joined the AVCA poll for the first time this season following a nonconference win over Jacksonville on Feb. 9. The Knights received four votes as the lone representative in the AAC. The Knights were receiving votes in the final AVCA poll of 2019.
The Knights have received solid production from all over to begin the season, but perhaps none more important than from the duo of McKenna Melville and Nerissa Moravec, as both have received conference player of the week nods to begin the season.
After six games, Melville is averaging over five kills per set, is hitting at a .352 clip, and has 35 digs and 11 total blocks to her name. Meanwhile, Moravec is leading the team with 1.67 blocks per set, including a team-high three solos. She has also proven to be a solid weapon for coach Dagenais from the middle, posting a solid .460 hitting percentage on 25 kills.
Temple is currently 5-1 on the season, with their one loss coming in a five-set nail-biter to South Florida in AAC action last weekend. With one week of conference competition under their belt, the Owls are 1-1 in AAC play.
The Owls are undefeated at home this season and were 6-5 on their home court in 2019. The Knights played Temple twice in 2019, sweeping them, 3-0, once at their place and once in Orlando. UCF is 10-6 all-time against the Owls, with the Knights last loss to them coming in a 3-2 defeat in 2017.
[On facing Temple]
"Temple is always an extremely competitive match for us, especially when we go up there. They play very tough at home. They are diverse and have the ability to spread the ball around, very similarly to what we do. It's going to come down to ball control and who has the ability to run their offense better under the stress of two really good serving teams… Temple has had some big wins early in the year and have a great record. They have everything they need to be a very competitive team."
[On starting conference play]
"Starting our conference schedule on the road is no easy challenge, but our team is up for it and ready for that challenge. The opportunity to defend our championship is one of our primary goals this year and our only way to do that is to go out and win these big road matches… I wouldn't say there is a different level of intensity for conference matches – we've already been playing and practicing at an intense level all season – there's just a lot more riding on the line now."
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