The banner dropped on Friday night to honor the 2014 UCF Knights on their tournament appearance and the 2015 Knights did not disappoint.
The Knights (7-6, 1-0 in AAC) looked impressive as they handled American Athletic Conference foe UConn (6-6, 0-1 in AAC) 3-0 for their first conference win of the season on Friday.
The Knights took home a win thanks to strong performances from junior Jale Hervey, who posted 10 kills and redshirt freshman Maddie Haggerty, who finished with nine kills and one dig.
"I thought we worked hard all week on our middles and anyone scouting us or watching film on us thinks we are an outside dominated team and we are not," head coach Todd Dagenais said. "It was just a matter of finding the right timing and combination and I think we found that this week. You just look at the hitting percentages in the middles and we are getting closer and closer to getting the number of sets we need to give them.”
The first set was won by UCF, 25-20. Haggerty and senior Abbie Fleener dominated, each posting four kills to lead the Knights.
The second set also went to UCF, 25-19 as Haggerty stayed consistent, adding three more kills along with one dig.
The third set came down to the wire, but was won by the Knights, 25-22.
Hervey came through huge with five kills in the final set to seal UCF's first conference win.
Freshman Miranda Watkins, freshman Jordan Pingel and junior Taylor Gallart also had big games. Watkins posted seven digs, one kill and 16 assists. Pingel finished with 15 digs and three assists. Gallart tallied four kills and seven digs.
After the game, Dana Faught, Hervey and Dagenais alluded to the crowd's passion as that being a define advantage. "The crowd was critical for us tonight,” Faught said.
Dagenais added, “844 people is unbelievable and that definitely helped us tonight.”
The Knights' next four games are at home against conference opponents. Temple (9-3) visits The Venue next on Sept. 27.
Jimmy Calhoun is a Contributing Writer for the Central Florida Future.