UCF volleyball team outruns Ian, shifts match to Wichita
WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Among millions directly impacted by Hurricane Ian are college and professional athletes who had to shift schedules and hit the road due to the storm. The Wichita State University women’s volleyball team was supposed to paly in Orlando this weekend against the University of Central Florida. That match now will happen at Wichita State’s Charles Koch Arena. First serve is set for 1 p.m. Sunday.
A match originally scheduled for noon Sunday at South Florida, in Tampa, has been postponed.
With the sudden changes and efforts to avoid cancelations, it’s been a challenging week for the UCF Knights volleyball team. With safety at top of mind, the team stayed determined to play against Wichita State and Tulsa this weekend, even if that meant outrunning the hurricane and traveling to Kansas, trading a scheduled home match for a road contest.
“Seeing how the radar was developing and seeing there was a break in part of the upper band, we knew if we got out of Orlando by a certain time, we would be fine,” UCF Head Volleyball Coach Todd Dagenais said.
Dagenais said it took a lot of help from the American Athletic Conference and the athletic departments at UCF and WSU.
“I got to tell you, Wichita State has been amazing putting these (matches) together on such short notice, making sure the teams have everything they need,” he said.
Dagenais said it’s important for his team to be able to play these matches in their pursuit of an AAC championship. The Knights currently sit at No. 24 in the national rankings.
“Volleyball doesn’t have a tournament at the end of the year, it’s basically just who has the most wins,” he said. “So, we cut off two matches of our schedule, that’s two matches less we play than everybody else.”
While thinking about the situation in Florida, the Knights are focused on winning this weekend.
“It’s a standard we have for our team. We’re a hungry team and want to win that championship,” UCF senior middle blocker Claudia Dillon said.
Dillon said the safety of friends and family back in Florida are also at the front of her mind.
“A lot of communication between everyone, not just back in Orlando. We have a couple girls who are from the Fort Myers area where it hit really hard, my parents live just north of that area,” she said.
If you decide to watch matches this weekend at Koch Arena, you’ll also have the opportunity to help victims of Hurricane Ian.
There is no charge for admission, though donations to the American Red Cross Hurricane Relief Fund are encouraged. A link to donate online can be found HERE, and QR codes with links to the Relief Fund will be available at entrances to make donations.
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