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Volleyball Hosts No. 12 BYU for pair of matches

by Jenna VanHoose
Watch Live Stats Match Notes

ORLANDO – UCF volleyball hosts No. 12 BYU for a pair of matches on Thursday and Friday at 7 p.m.  

The Matchup

  • This will be the first time since 2006 the Knights and Cougars will face off against each other. 
  • With UCF at Houston last week, they play both Big 12 teams with the Cougar mascot in back-to-back weeks.
  • BYU heads into the match with a 2-0 record over UCF.
  • Both teams are new members in Big 12 Conference as they joined on July 1, 2023.
  • UCF headed into the tough slate of its schedule starting with Kansas State on Saturday, Oct. 14. As the remaining opponents were ranked above UCF in the Big 12 preseason rankings. 

Scouting BYU

  • The Cougars head into the matchup with a 20-5 record and are on a two-game winning streak.
  • Head coach Heather Olmstead is in her ninth season with BYU and first season in the Big 12 with a 9-4 record.
  • As a team, BYU is ranked No. 2 in the Big 12 with 2.71 blocks per set and 230 total blocks.
  • Mia Lee leads the Cougars with 1.23 blocks per set and is ranked No. 5 in the Big 12. 

Double-Trouble Trio

  • Three Knights have recorded double-doubles this season led by Emily Wilson with eight followed by Abby Schomers with six and Avah Armour with two. 
  • Wilson and Armour each produced a double-double in the first match of the season against Navy.
  • As a setter, Schomers dished out 46 assists and 11 digs to mark her first double-double of her career against Mississippi State. 

Taking Big Steps in the Big 12

  • The Knights started out their inaugural season in the Big 12 with a 7-0 start. 
  • UCF opened Big 12 play with a familiar foe, Cincinnati, as the Knights and Bearcats moved to the Big 12 conference this season from the American Athletic Conference. 

Ace it up 

  • Currently ranked No. 10 in the NCAA for aces per set with an average of 2.01 per set.
  • Emily Wilson is ranked among the top 30 for aces per set at No. 28 with .48.
  • Against North Texas, the Knights came out strong with the serves firing a season-high 15 aces. 
  • So far this season, the Black and Gold have recorded eight games in double digits for aces.

Knight in Shining Armour 

  • Headlined by 10 matches with double digits in kills along with a career-high of 17 kills against Cincinnati (9/21).
  • Armour has recorded two double-doubles this season one in the first non-conference matchup (Navy 8/25) along with another one in the first Big 12 match (Cincinnati 9/21). 

Ace and Double-Double Queen 

  • Emily Wilson is ranked No. 1 in service aces per set (0.48) and total service aces (41) in the Big 12 standings. 
  • In the most recent matchup against Oklahoma, Wilson recorded a career-high six service aces in the 3-1 win. 
  • Wilson leads the team with eight double-doubles this season and has recorded 18 matches with double digits in kills.

Knights In the Rankings

  • UCF is ranked in five categories in the top 100 of the NCAA. 
  • 10th: 2.01 aces per set 
  • 32nd: 0.266 hitting %
  • 33rd: 177 team service aces
  • 55th: 0.708 match w-l %
  • 88th: 13.07 kills per set

5-0 Start

  • Headlined by a 5-0 start, head coach Jenny Maurer became the first UCF head coach in the DI Era to start the season 5-0 in their first season as head coach. 
  • Three Knights were named to the UAlbany All-Tournament Team: Abby Hansen (MVP), Abby Schomers and Avah Armour. 
  • Claudia Dillon earned the All-Tournament team for the UCF Challenge. 

The Jenny Maurer Era 

  • Jenny Maurer was named head coach of UCF volleyball in May 2023. 
  • She is no stranger to UCF as she has been a member of the coaching staff since 2016.
  • Her resume includes nine years as a Division I head coach --Lehigh (4) and Bradley (5).
  • Two-time DIII National Champion (1995 and 1996) as a player at Washington University in St. Louis. 

Rounding Out The Staff 

  • Maurer added two associate head coaches to her staff along with a volunteer assistant. 
  • Jason Tanaka, a 25-year collegiate coaching veteran with Big 12 experience (Baylor, TCU).
  • Michaela Franklin, former Big 12 volleyball champion (Kansas State) and nationally recognized recruiter.
  • Tyler Hubbard-Neil, a former professional volleyball player joins the staff as a volunteer assistant. 
  • Erin Olson stays on the staff as the Director of Operations.

Calling All Newbies

  • The Knights have added a total of seven newcomers to the roster.
  • Four of those are freshmen and the other three are transfers. 
  • The freshmen include Avah Armour, Annika Sokol, Sasha Cohen and Doga Ocal. 
  • Three out of the four freshmen are from Colorado and Ocal is from Turkey.
  • The transfer trio includes Lauren Clark (FGCU/ Penn State), Britt Carlson (Washington State) and Megan Holland (South Carolina).

Bringing ‘Em Back 

  • The Knights return eight from the previous season. 
  • Key returners for UCF include Abby Hansen, Claudia Dillon, Chloe Scheer, Emily Wilson, Katelyn Grimes and Heidi Bonde who all saw playing time last year.

Five Peat AAC Champions

  • UCF volleyball ends an era in the American with five consecutive championships. 
  • The Knights started their inaugural season in the American in 2013 and ended in 2023 accounting for 11 overall championship titles.

New Kids On The Block 

  • UCF officially joined the Big 12 Conference on July 1, 2023.
  • The Knights enter the Power 5 as the youngest school, having been founded in 1963 to supply NASA with engineers.
  • UCF joined the conference with Cincinnati, Houston and BYU to push the conference to 13 volleyball programs. 
  • The Knights were ranked No. 9 in the Big 12 preseason poll. 
  • In the AVCA poll, the Knights are one of seven Big 12 schools that are ranked or receiving votes. 

European Tour 

  • UCF enjoyed a successful foreign tour this summer after visiting the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia and Italy playing six matches against international opponents. 
  • Traveling from Orlando to Czech Republic, the team began its trip in Prague, walking around Old Town and the city. 
  • While in Prague, the Knights played back-to-back matches against the Czech national team.
  • A short trip to Brno, where UCF played the U22 Brno team along with touring in the downtown area. 
  • Sightseeing in Budapest featured the Buda Castle, the Parliament building and the Danube.
  • Kicking off its time in Maribor, UCF held a clinic for about 30 youth, presenting a further opportunity to get to know the local people and share some of the team’s volleyball knowledge and skills. 
  • Outside of the team’s two matches in Slovenia, the Knights rode a ski lift up part of the mountain to ride the alpine slide down the mountain and went for a bike ride to the city center of Maribor. For dinner, the team took a gondola up Pohorje Mountain on top of the mountain.
  • UCF took a pit stop in Lake Bled, Slovenia for a few hours on the way to Italy which included a gondola ride to the church in the middle of the lake, swimming and enjoying the famous Lake Bled cake. 
  • Once in Italy, the Black and Gold checked out the amenities at the resort which included multiple pools and a hot spring. The team concluded their trip in Venice with a full day of sightseeing. 

 Home Court Advantage 

  • UCF reached a 22-match home win streak from Oct. 10, 2021 – Sept. 2, 2023.
  • The Knights boasted a 13-0 record at home in 2022. 
  • UCF has only lost four games at home in the past three seasons. 
  • In 2022, the Black and Gold won the AAC Championship at home in a five-set thriller against Houston for a share of the championship title.  
  • With the move into the Big 12, season tickets have been selling like crazy. 
  • The Knights have sold a record number of season tickets.