Aug. 27, 2008
ORLANDO, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - In the final segment of the three-part 2008 UCF volleyball season preview, first-year head coach Todd Dagenais shares his thoughts on The Venue at UCF - the Knights' new volleyball-only facility, and the schedule that the Black and Gold embark on beginning Friday at the Georgia Southern Invitational.
THE VENUE AT UCF
Not only will the Knights be welcoming a mixture of new coaches and new players, but they will also be playing in their new home. When the Knights face Stanford on Sept. 2, they will be opening up The Venue at UCF. The 2,000-seat facility serves as the permanent home for the volleyball squad and also houses practice areas for both the men's and women's basketball teams.
"So few programs across the country have their own home," Dagenais said. "People are going to walk in and get a major volleyball atmosphere like you see at some of the elite schools in the nation. We are really hoping for an eclectic bunch of fans that come in with varied backgrounds, but want to come in and cheer a team on. I just sense that this community is longing for a team that they can really get behind in the sport of volleyball. We want to be able to provide them with that product. The Venue gives us the ability to do that."
Dagenais and the squad will make their home debut at The Venue at UCF on Sept. 2 when they face Stanford at 7 p.m. The Cardinal finished the 2007 season with a 32-3 record and advanced to their 13th NCAA Championship match, concluding the year with a No. 2 ranking.
Besides Stanford, UCF will play two additional teams that participated in the NCAA Championship in 2007, with both matches coming on the road. The Knights will face Oregon in the first round of the Kansas University Tournament on Sept. 5, serving as a homecoming for Jenny Heppert (Lawrence, Kan.). The Black and Gold will also go head-to-head with C-USA Champion Tulsa on Sept. 28 during its C-USA opening weekend.
The Knights begin their season on Aug. 29, facing in-state rival Jacksonville at the Georgia Southern Tournament in Statesboro, Ga. In addition to playing the Dolphins, the Black and Gold will also face host Georgia Southern and Presbyterian at the event.
After hosting its first match of the season, UCF hits the road again for three-consecutive away tournaments in September, participating in the Kansas University Tournament Sept. 5-6, the Florida International Tournament Sept. 12-13 and the Southern Miss Tournament Sept. 18-20.
The Knights open C-USA action on Sept. 26 at SMU, before hosting four-straight league matches against Marshall (Oct. 3), East Carolina (Oct. 5), Memphis (Oct. 10) and UAB (Oct. 12) at the beginning of October. UCF will also face the quartet of teams on the road in the latter part of the schedule, while only seeing SMU, Tulsa, Houston, Rice, Tulane, UTEP and Southern Miss once during the season.
UCF concludes its regular-season slate on Nov. 15 when it hosts Southern Miss at 7 p.m., before traveling to Memphis, Tenn., Nov. 20-23 for the C-USA Volleyball Championship.
"The most exciting thing about this year's schedule is getting Stanford in here," Dagenais said. "It is like having the New York Yankees come to your stadium to play. They are the most successful collegiate team in the last decade and we get to have them in our gym to open up our new building. It is an honor to have a team like that come to play us. Another great thing about the schedule is that we get to honor our commitment to Heppert and (Erin) Campbell (Kansas City, Mo.) to get them close to home, where their families can see them play when we go to the Kansas Invitational and play."
The Knights open the 2008 season Aug. 29 at the Georgia Southern Invitational, before hosting the six-time national champion Stanford Sept. 2 at The Venue at UCF. Season tickets for UCF's 2008 volleyball campaign at The Venue are currently available by calling the UCF athletics ticket office at 407-UCF-1000. For the latest news on the Knights, log on to www.UCFAthletics.com - the official site for UCF varsity sports. The site, which also contains ticket and Golden Knights Club donor information, is also the home of UCF's new online apparel store. Also visit www.UCFPhotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.