The UCF volleyball team cranked up the defensive intensity as its match with Rutgers progressed, earning a sweep (25-21, 25-11, 25-19) at The Venue on Sunday afternoon. The Knights (12-4, 3-0 The American) are still perfect in American Athletic Conference play, and have now won five of their last six matches.
The Black and Gold, wearing pink uniforms for breast cancer awareness, held the Scarlet Knights (4-13, 0-3) to a .140 attack percentage on the match. The Knights’ defense got better as the match went on, limiting Rutgers to hit percentages of .100 in the second and .050 in the third frames.
“I think any win in conference is a quality win especially when you consider we played two teams this weekend we had never seen before in person,” UCF head coach Todd Dagenais said. “Once we figured out how Rutgers was trying to attack us, we made some adjustments with our serving and overloaded some of our blocks. Rutgers is way better than their record. They hung in there and the first and third sets could have gone either way.”
Sophomore setter Dana Faught got the nod to start for the second-consecutive match and she responded well with 34 assists, 11 digs, three block assists and two service aces. It was the second-straight double-double for the Round Rock, Texas, native as she registered a 49 assist, 12 dig effort in Friday’s victory.
“I want to give a lot of credit to Dana for her efforts this weekend,” Dagenais said. “Dana has worked really hard to put herself in a position to contribute when called upon and she deserved an opportunity to get some playing time. For her to out there and grind out two wins for us this weekend, that’s what a team player has to do. I’m really proud of her, her effort and her composure. We have all the confidence in the world in Dana and this weekend proved why.”
The Knights were led offensively by junior middle DeLaina Sarden, who blasted 10 kills and hit .421 for the match. Sarden was backed by freshman Taylor Gallart, who also recorded 10 kills and eight digs. Defensively, junior libero Jade Hayes extended her double-digit digs streak to a season-best 11 matches with a match high 16.