UCF Sweeps Florida Foes

ORLANDO, Fla. – The UCF volleyball team swept both matches on the first day of the UCF Invitational against two Florida Foes. The Knights first gave FGCU (6-1) its first loss of the season, 3-1, before taking down FSU (5-2) in a tight five-setter on Friday from The Venue.
"It has been a banner day," head coach Todd Dagenais said, "Beating a tough Florida Gulf Coast team who was undefeated and hadn't even had a set taken off them to then go out and beat Florida State was the jewel on the crown. I am really proud of our team. It is a great confidence booster heading into tomorrow."
McKenna Melville had a career-high match against Florida State, earning her third double-double of the season with a career-high 28 digs and tied her career-high 27 kills.
The Knights charged early with 17 kills and hit .500 to keep a steady five-point lead throughout the firstset to win 25-18. Early in the second, the set was point for point and tied at 12. But UCF then took off with another strong offensive showing of 16 kills and a hitting percentage of .406 to win 25-18. The Eagles fought back in the third to force a fourth set, winning 25-15. The Knights were not phased and came back to take the first five points of the fourth set and led by as much as 12 in the set. UCF never looked back to win the fourth, 25-15, to take the match.
Tali Marmen picked up her first career double-double with 14 kills and 12 digs while also hitting .375. McKenna Melville led with 16 kills and hit .353 while Anne-Marie Watson also grabbed double digit kills with 11 while hitting .550. Nerissa Moravec recorded seven blocks while Watson put up five. Amber Olson had 25 assists and Emily Lawrence added 18.
"This was a collective win," Marmen said, "One of our goals for this game was to have everyone engaged and working together whether that's physically by executing or mentally and I think we did a great job and performed as a team. This win gives us confidence going into the Florida State match tonight"

The rivalry was won. UCF came out confident, leading 6-1 right out of the gate. FSU fought back to tie the set 14-14, but the Knights walked away with it to win the set 25-20. The two teams battled back and forth in the second and the set was tied 19-19, but FSU used a 5-0 run to secure the second set. The Knights started slow in the third set, down 1-8, but chipped away point by point to take the lead 24-23 after four-straight kills from Marmen. The Noles fired back with a 3-0 to take the third set, 26-24.
Going point for point early in the fourth, UCF uses a momentum shifting 4-0 run to lead 13-10. The Knights held the steady lead using 17 kills and hitting .368 to take the fourth set and force a fifth. UCF never took its foot off the gas in the final set. FSU made a last push to make things interesting, but the Knights came up with the win, 15-13 to take the match.
Melville had a career-high match with 27 kills, 28 digs and added three aces while Marmen picked up her second career double-double with 14 kills and 11 digs. Watson came out hot early and added 11 kills and four blocks. Kathryn Wesolich came in later with seven kills and three blocks.
The last time the Knights took down the Noles was in the NCAA Tournament in 2019 which was also 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.
[On win over FGCU]
It is always a battle between us. They are a tough team to try to score against. But going out establishing the energy and the serve and pass in the first set I thought was critical in this match because this team who has not lost a set and they know how to win games.
[On team's mentality]
We know we are tough. I thought they were in the right mindset. They knew that as long as they kept playing, they were going to be fine and that is what they did the whole match. They stayed loose, relaxed, and went out and played fundamental volleyball really well. We bring forward the confidence and execution.
[On win over FSU]
It is always a great battle against Florida State. We have been working really hard every year to be closer to them and I feel like we are right in the mix with them now. It is now at the point it is back and forth. We are very excited to come out on top on this way and hopefully it is a launching pad now for what is next.
[On Melville's performance]
On top of having 27 kills, she had 28 digs. That is nation player of the week numbers, not just conference. I was really proud of her, and she is the rock that allows everyone else out there to perform.
The Knights close out the UCF Invitational tomorrow against Georgia at 3:00pm from The Venue.
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