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Volleyball off to a Solid Start with 3-1 Opening Weekend

The UCF Volleyball team is off to a 3-1 start, including a sweep of their season-opening tournament at home. UCF defeated Stony Brook, Kent State and Stetson in a combined 10 sets on their way to the championship of the Holiday Inn UCF Area Invitational.

Despite a non-tournament loss to #17 Florida State, head coach Todd Dagenais and his team should be at least satisfied with their performance to start the year.

Here's Dagenais on Monday, after watching film from the weekend:

Three Sets:

Kia Bright looks good

The last time we saw Kia Bright, she was writhing in pain on the Venue floor during the UConn match last year, having blown out her ACL.

Fast forward 11 months and the redshirt junior looked really good, though it also looked at times like she was figuring out how to play in live game action while wearing a bulky knee brace.

She started against Stony Brook with 8 kills, and then followed that up with 11 against Kent State, 11 against Florida State and 13 against Stetson to wrap the tournament.

Even better was her defense, recording 9, 14, 11 and 8 digs respectively over the weekend's four matches.

So yeah, I'd say she's looking quite well.

Jale Hervey looks really good

Hervey kicked off 2016 with a team-best 15 kills against Stony Brook, and then followed that up with another 14 against Kent State on day one. She notched a combined 17 kills total for day two, but she was clearly able to hit her spots, given that Bright's presence on the other side opened up opponents' blocking for her.

Should UCF stay healthy and Jale continue to get free looks at the net on the attack, she should be in for a huge year.

Silver Lining

UCF will probably look back at the Florida State match as a missed opportunity, as the Knights actually out-killed FSU for the match (40-37), but committed an astounding 31 errors to FSU's 11. By comparison, UCF committed 42 errors total in the other three matches over the weekend.

As a result, UCF dropped the first two sets by two swings each, and then hit -.065 in the third, when the Seminoles wrapped it up. The Knights also got out-blocked 19-4 up front, which wasn't really a surprise given FSU's size advantage.

Todd's Takes

After each weekend, Todd Dagenais sends out a brief tweetstorm with his observations after breaking down the film. Here's this week's takeaway:

Next up

UCF heads to Southern Illinois for their only road tournament this year, the Saluki Invitational, against Southern Illinois, Western Michigan and Northern Arizona. Before you dismiss this as a throw-away weekend against directional schools, note the following:

SIU is 17th in the Mid-Major poll and NAU is 25th. UCF is receiving votes. So yeah, this week ain't no slouch either.