RV UCF at Florida State
ORLANDO – The Knights are headed to the state capital as the 8-0 UCF volleyball team will look to maintain its perfect record in a noon match against Florida State on Friday, Feb. 26.
The Knights were originally scheduled to play Miami over the weekend with one match at The Venue and one in Coral Gables, but the matches were called off on Feb. 16 and the replacement match with Florida State was added on Feb. 22.
"We're grateful that Florida State was able to add this match with us with such small notice," said head coach Todd Dagenais. "We are very thankful to them for accommodating us and sneaking us into their busy campus and volleyball schedule this weekend."
Friday's match with Florida State will not be streamed, but fans can tune in to live stats here.
UCF remained in the AVCA poll for the second straight week following the Knights' sweep over Temple on Feb. 18-19, moving to 8-0. The Knights received 14 votes as the lone American representative in the poll.
As of Feb. 22, only No. RV UCF and Wichita remained undefeated across all competitions in American volleyball.
Three different teams from The American have opened the season with an unbeaten record away from home as of Feb. 22. Only UCF (3-0), South Florida (3-0) and Wichita State (3-0 away, 2-0 neutral) have yet to drop a match playing away from home court. The Knights (5-0) and Wichita State (2-0) are also among three teams that are still unbeaten at home, along with Houston (5-0).
The Knights are currently pacing the AAC in a number of categories this spring as McKenna Melville leads the conference at 5.70 points per set. Defensively, the Knights are just as strong. As of Feb. 22, Nerissa Moravec has 1.52 blocks per set, putting her within striking distance for the conference's season-high blocks per set total established by SMU's Janelle Giordano in 2015 (1.58). Kathryn Wesolich is right behind her at 1.30 blocks per frame.
The Knights last took on Florida State in one of the most important matches in program history. In 2019, UCF squared off against the Seminoles in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, winning 3-2 (25-19, 20-25, 20-25, 25-18, 15-8) to move to the second round for the first time in the Todd Dagenais era and for the first time since 2003.
In addition to it being Dagenais's first NCAA Tournament victory, the win also secured his spot as UCF Volleyball's all-time winningest head coach, passing Lucy McDaniel for his 237th career win.
FSU is 3-3 to this point in the 2020-21 season. The Seminoles played four matches in the fall, dropping two to Georgia Tech and splitting two with then No. 11 Miami. FSU has played two matches in the spring, taking down Clemson twice.
The Knights are 8-28 all-time against FSU.
[On facing Florida State for the first time since beating them in the NCAA Tournament]
"In the volleyball world, the NCAA Tournament victory was 20 years ago, so that doesn't really have much of an impact on this match at all. But Florida State is a high quality, NCAA Tournament level match that will continue to help guide us as well as help us learn who we are and where we need to go."
[On not playing at home since Feb. 6]
"We certainly miss being at home and we miss our fans, but we usually go through periods of being on the road for extended times every year, so this is nothing new. So, we're looking forward to getting back home but we have business to take care of on the road first."
[On the challenges that FSU will provide]
"They are big and athletic at every position. They are solid in their all-around game and this is going to be one of those matches where we will have to play as well as we have played all year, but that is the kind of challenge that we need right now. This is going to be like an NCAA Tournament level match."
[On the team's growth over the last month of play]
"I think the biggest thing is the fact that we have played more volleyball together. It is not as disjointed and segmented as it was when we started. We are starting to get more comfortable on the floor and playing next to each other, no matter who that person may be. We are becoming smoother and our communication is better. The little things that take place on the floor, those are the things that have really gotten better."
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