April 4, 2014
UCF Athletics Social Media Directory
By Andrew Jennette
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) – The UCF volleyball team competed with Florida over five hard fought sets at the Wide World of Sports at Walt Disney World last weekend. The Knights got their most challenging test of the spring from the Gators and will wrap up their competitive spring schedule with a 2 p.m. match against rival USF in Tampa on Sunday afternoon.
Fans who were unable make it out to the Wide World of Sports complex can watch the match replay on ESPN3 using this direct link: http://espn.go.com/watchespn/index/_/id/1771478/NCAA-Womens-Volleyball-Central-Florida-vs-Florida
“We want to thank USA Volleyball and the entire Disney Wide World of Sports for hosting this event for us,” head coach Todd Dagenais said. “It’s very rare to be able to have a spring match on such a big stage and especially a national platform like ESPN. It was a really good experience for us to play a top-five opponent in the spring, especially one that we’re going to play again in the fall.”
Florida won four of the five sets played (23-25, 16-25, 25-23, 10-25, 13-15), however the final score was not indicative of how close the match was as three of the five sets were decided by two points apiece.
“We did a lot of things really well,” Dagenais said. “We had been struggling with our passing for a good part of the spring, but through three sets we passed extremely well at a very high level. Their velocity and power got to us in the fourth and fifth sets, but overall I thought we handled the serve and receive extremely well against as tough of a team as we’ll ever face in the serving game.”
Senior middle DeLaina Sarden had an outstanding match, racking up 15 kills on 25 swings with just two errors for a .480 attack percentage. Sarden set career-highs last year in every major statistical category and is primed for another big season.
“Offensively I thought we shined in a middle, which is something you have to do when you go against a team of their caliber,” Dagenais said. “It shows we still have work to do on the outside hitting. For us to be a consistent team our outsides have to be able to terminate the ball and be low error. A team like Florida forces you to do things you aren’t comfortable with and we kind of fell into their trap. I thought it was a good learning experience for all four outside hitters and they are going to be better off for it.”
Fellow senior Ashley Gialenios nearly came up with a double-double as she tallied 10 digs and put away nine kills. Junior transfer Abbie Fleener showed off her two-way ability with five kills and three blocks.
Senior Jade Hayes led the way on the back row with 16 digs. She was backed by Taylor Gallart, who came up with eight digs, and Dana Faught who came up with six.
“Ultimately we were really happy with how well we played,” Dagenais said. “The scores were very close. A couple of made plays and those two close sets we lost could have gone the other way. But we needed a test in our third weekend and we got a test.”
The Knights have one final opportunity to show their spring improvements both outside and on the right side as they wrap up their competitive spring schedule by playing at USF. UCF will play one match lasting four or five games starting at 2 p.m. It gives the Black and Gold a last opportunity to figure out how much it has progressed this spring against an opponent it knows a lot about.