ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) -The UCF volleyball team kicks off October with a pair of home matches as it welcomes Conference USA foes SMU and Tulsa to Orlando this weekend. The Knights played nine of their previous 10 matches on the road and are excited to get back in front of the home crowd at The Venue.
The Knights (5-11, 2-2) will take on the Mustangs (4-13, 1-4) Friday night at 7 p.m., and then battle the Golden Hurricane (11-7, 4-0) Sunday at 1 p.m.
The first opponent for the Black and Gold will be SMU. A defensive battle could be on the horizon as the Mustangs rank in the top half of the conference in opponents hitting percentage and blocks. Junior Maddie Lozano ranks fifth in the conference with 1.10 blocks per set. UCF used its defense to grind out a tough five-set victory over SMU last season in Dallas.
After the tilt with the Mustangs, the Knights will welcome the No. 1 team in the conference as Tulsa rolls into town. The Golden Hurricane is a combined 42-2 in conference play since the 2010 season and has won the last two conference championships. Tulsa is led offensively by senior Tyler Henderson who leads the conference in kills and kills per set. Defensively, the Golden Hurricane features senior libero Jessica Adams who has won Defensive Player of the Week four times this season.
Last weekend, the Black and Gold earned their second-consecutive weekend split in C-USA play as they were defeated at Marshall in a five-set heartbreaker on Friday. The Knights bounced back on Sunday with a sweep at East Carolina to earn its second conference road win of the season.
Sunday's 3-0 victory over the Pirates featured tremendous play from the Knights’ starting middles as sophomore DeLaina Sarden and senior Tory McCutcheon combined for 22 kills on 29 attempts with just two errors and a .689 attack percentage. The two also helped hold ECU to just a .041 hitting percentage for the match.