Nov. 10, 2013
UCF Athletics Social Media Directory
By Andy Seeley
STORRS, Conn. (UCFKnights.com) – The UCF Knights began their 2013 volleyball campaign back in early August and they still have three weeks remaining in the regular season. The season can be a grind and weekend road trips far away from home don’t make that grind any easier.
UCF-UConn Final Stats
That’s what makes UCF head coach Todd Dagenais so happy after the Knights completed a weekend swing to the Northeast with a pair of victories. The most recent came on Sunday, as the Knights toppled UConn, 3-1.
“The toughest thing to do when you get to November and the end of the season and everybody’s tired is to travel on a new road trip and find a way to come away with two wins,” Dagenais said after Sunday’s win. “I’m proud of the effort of our squad over the entire weekend to pick up these two critical road wins in unfamiliar places. “I thought we got better as the weekend went on, which doesn’t always happen on a road trip.
In the victory over the Huskies, UCF took the first set by a tally of 25-21. UConn, which is battling a rash of injuries, came back to steal the second set 25-22. But the Knights picked up 25-18 wins in the third and fourth sets to take the victory.
“I give a lot of credit to UConn,” Dagenais said. “They’re dealing with a lot of injuries and finding a way to keep things together and be really competitive. I give Holly (Strauss-O’Brien) and the coaching staff a lot of props for what they’re doing to keep that team highly competitive, despite the adversity they’re facing.”
The Knights recorded a .309 hitting percentage in the match, while holding UConn to just a .194 mark. Ashley Gialenios led the Knights with 17 kills, while DeLaina Sarden tacked on 16 with a .394 hitting percentage.
“Offensively, I thought we were as good as we’ve been in a real long time,” Dagenais said. “DeLaina Sarden has just been reliable for us. She had another 16 kills and hitting .394 with more blocks. As the match went along, Kaye-Alese Green became really important for us. So did Loren Cory. Both of them picked up their hitting averages in the second two sets. I thought Ashley Gialenios had a great rebound match. She’s working hard on her game. She has never given up, even in those moments where it wasn’t gone well. She came out today and was on fire. They could not stop her. I’m really proud of how hard she’s been working.”
Jade Hayes tallied 26 digs to lead the defensive effort for UCF. She has now reached double figures in digs in 20 consecutive matches.
“I thought Jade Hayes did a fantastic job on defense again,” Dagenais said. “To me, those are player of the week-type numbers, when you come out with 28 and 26 digs over seven sets. That’s almost unheard of.”
The victory pushed UCF’s record to 18-7 overall and 9-3 in American Athletic Conference play. UConn dropped to 11-17, 2-11.
“Already being at 18 wins, the 20-win mark is somewhere in sight," Dagenais added. "We have the opportunity to have the best season we’ve had, at least since the new coaching staff has been here. Everything that we want is in front of us. All our goals are in front of us. Now, it’s just getting back to work and finding a way to seize them.”
The Knights are back in action again Friday night at the Venue, hosting conference-leading Louisville. The 7 p.m. match will feature UCF’s “Medieval Knight” themed contest.