The UCF Knights Volleyball team’s 2019 season came to an unceremonious end in the NCAA Tournament Second Round in Gainesville, as they were swept by Florida.
It marks the end of the line for five seniors - Erin Olson, Kristina Fisher, Lache Harper, Alli Sabol and Makenzie Kuchmaner - all of whom contributed to a second consecutive 25-plus-win campaign and American Volleyball Championship. Sabol and Olson summed up their last ride afterwards:
For the match, Kristina Fisher led the Knights with 10 kills and McKenna Melville had 9 plus 19 digs.
Head Coach Todd Dagenais addressed the media after the match and provided his evaluation of where this year’s team will stand in UCF history:
UCF’s 2019 campaign erased a lot of the disappointment that shrouded the end of their 2018 season, when a 24-match win streak was snapped by FGCU on the Knights’ home floor in the NCAA first round.
While the Knights didn’t win as many matches as last season, they did defend their American Athletic Conference crown, and did so on their home floor in the first tournament in conference history, beating Cincinnati in a dramatic five-set thriller on national TV.
They followed that up with yesterday’s five-set win over Florida State, which accomplished several things:
- First NCAA Tournament win since 2003
- First NCAA Tournament win over an in-state opponent
- First UCF Volleyball senior class to win 20+ matches all four years since 1997
- Win #237 for Dagenais, making him UCF’s all-time winningest head coach
Over time, the disappointment of tonight’s match will be overshadowed by the accomplishments of the most successful UCF Volleyball team since the program moved up from the Atlantic Sun Conference.
Those of us who were lucky enough to witness it certainly won’t forget it. But only those who were in the locker room and on the floor know how truly special it was.