ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) – Looking for back-to-back weekend sweeps, the UCF volleyball team came through with its best offensive performance of the season as it defeated Marshall, 3-1 (25-16, 18-25, 25-10, 25-20). The Knights (11-13, 8-4) hit a season-high .379 and blasted 57 kills in just four sets as they won their fourth-consecutive match.
UCF was led by sophomore Ashley Gialenios who set new career-highs with 16 kills and a .536 attack percentage. Backing Gialenios was senior Evija Vilde who blasted 17 kills. Senior Dani Harrison picked up two more service aces Sunday giving her a career-best seven over the weekend. Senior Meredith Murphy extended her season-high double digit digs streak to 12 with a match-high 27.
“We know that offense is going to be a big key. This weekend, we found a great offensive rhythm,” head coach Todd Dagenais said. “Marie (Reiterova) has done not only a great job with her set location, but also with her decision making which has just been outstanding. For us to hit .379 for a match and have three sets well over .400, that’s just really a nice weekend for us.”
The Knights will hit the road once again when they head to Houston, Texas, to take on UH on Friday at 8 p.m. and Rice on Sunday at 1 p.m.
UCF made quick work of Marshall in the first set, 25-16, behind the trio of Gialenios, Vilde and senior Tory McCutcheon and who netted three kills apiece. Marie Reiterova hoisted 11 of her 49 assists to lead the offense to a .450 attack percentage. The Knights’ stifling defense limited Marshall to just .069 on the attack with four total blocks.
After dropping the second set, 25-18, the Knights blasted the Herd, 25-10, thanks in large part to DeLaina Sarden who went six-for-six on the attack while blocking three shots. She finished the match with 10 kills with zero errors and seven block assists. UCF’s defense once again shut down the Marshall offense, limiting it to -0.23 in the stanza while the Knights won 11 points on the serve of Murphy.
In the fourth, UCF trailed Marshall, 14-12, but ripped off six of the next seven points on its way to closing out the match, 25-20. Gialenios and Vilde smashed six kills apiece in the deciding set. The Black and Gold hit .471 in the stanza, giving them a season-best three sets over .420 for the match.