ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) – Riding a six-match winning streak, the UCF volleyball team opens its American Athletic Conference schedule on Friday night at 7 p.m. at USF. The Knights enter the conference portion of the year with a 9-3 record, including a win of then-No. 7 USC.
The match will be streamed through BullsVision for free.
Here's five things to know heading into the USF match:
1. TOURNEY CHAMPS X 2
The Knights defended home court for the second straight weekend to lift a tournament title. Last week, UCF won the VolleyKnights Invitational with a pair of sweeps over Alabama State and FGCU, followed by a gritty 3-2 victory over Yale in the final match of the weekend. McKenna Melville notched her second straight tournament MVP honor, while Jordan Pingel and Nerissa Moravec earned spots on the all-tournament squad.
2. ON A ROLL
UCF’s six-match winning streak has the team firing on all cylinders heading into conference play. The Knights hit .296 over the stretch, while holding opponents to just .162 at the net. The block has had a major role in disrupting opposing offenses with 3.1 blocks per set and just under 11 rejections per match. Melville has powered the offense with 4.57 kills per set at a .308 clip. Jordan Pingel has been impressive in the back row with 4.24 digs per set.
3. DISHING DIMES
Erin Olson and Amber Olson have gelled at the setting position to give the Knights a balanced attack. UCF ranks eighth in the nation in assists per set with 13.6, which the duo accounts for 12.23. The setting sisters have done a solid job of working the ball pin to pin and opening attacking across the front line for Melville, Kristina Fisher, Briana Garcia, Anne-Marie Watson, Nerissa Moravec and Kathryn Wesolich.
4. PRAISE FOR PINGEL
Pingel was tabbed as the American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Week on Monday. The lone senior on the 2018 squad was all over the place on the back row, posting 5.18 digs per set during the VolleyKnights Invitational. This season, Pingel is averaging 4.36 digs per set. She is now 152 digs away from the 2000-mark for a career and the program’s all-time record.
5. THE WAR ON I4
Friday marks the start of the 2018-19 edition of the War on I-4. In the 2017-18 volleyball portion of the rivalry, the Knights swept both matches against the Bulls at the end of the regular season. Kristina Fisher was tabbed The American Offensive Player of the week with 29 kills over six sets with a .417 attack percentage. In the overall matchup last season, the Knights cruised to a 49-35 victory to clinch their second straight victory.
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