After a 1-1 split on the road last weekend, the UCF volleyball team returns to the friendly confides on The Venue at UCF when it hosts UAB in a double-header on Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 4 p.m. The Blazers (15-2, 5-0) arrive in Orlando winners of their last 11 matches.
With October serving as breast cancer awareness month, the Friday night tilt against UAB will serve as the annual Dig for the Cure match with proceeds going to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure® Foundation. Fans are encouraged to add some pink to their black and gold attire when they head out to The Venue.
“If we can do a little something in sport to raise awareness about breast cancer, I think that is important,” head coach Todd Dagenais said. “Hopefully we have a big PINK weekend here at UCF between volleyball, soccer and football. Hopefully people come out and support that cause that has affected so many of us.”
Saturday’s second tussle of the weekend with UAB will be free to all those who attend as a part of UKNIGHT in PINK weekend.
In a log jam at 3-2 in Conference USA play, the Knights (11-5) are tied with four other league schools for third place. The two matches with UAB this weekend are pivotal for UCF’s chances at moving up in the conference as the Blazers own C-USA’s best record at 5-0.
“You have the team that is number one in the league back at your place and I think it gives us a great opportunity to try and create a little separation from the pack,” Dagenais said. “If you are going to do it, it has to be against a top team. This is as tough of a UAB team we’ve seen since they won the conference championship a couple of years ago.”
Since the start of league play against UTEP, freshman middle blocker DeLaina Sarden (Lawrenceville, Ga.) has been key to the Knights’ success. Owning 12 kills before the start of C-USA matches, Sarden has broken out for 37 daggers in five matches, including double-digits in three-straight tilts.
“I think the connection between her and Rachel (Vukson) has really been solidified to a point where Rachel feels comfortable with her even on not perfect passes,” Dagenais said about the rookie. “We are still adding things to her game to give her more swings at the ball.”
The Blazers bring in a balanced attack with seven members of the team in double figures since C-USA play started. Running a 6-2 offense, both setters Alison Woods (110) and Becca Howard (78) have paced the team in assists.
Last year when the two squads met in Orlando, UCF got the better of the Blazers in a thrilling five-setter that saw three Knights record double-digit kills and Vukson dish out 57 assists.
Gold Zone parking is in effect for the football game, and fans attending the soccer match can park in the free Red and Blue Zones on campus.