ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) - After one of the best freshmen campaigns in program history, UCF Volleyball outside hitter McKenna Melville has been named to the U.S. Women’s Collegiate National for an international tour of Japan.
“This is an exciting opportunity for McKenna to represent the United States in international competition,” head coach Todd Dagenais said. “This is a chance for her to be groomed to have a future with the USA National Team. That is something that we always want for our players who have a desire to play at a higher level. I’m glad that she went to the tryout, did such a great job and was named to this prestigious team. Hopefully, she can parlay this experience and have a chance to represent the United States in the Junior World Championships this summer when those rosters are released.”
Melville earned a spot on the national team after a three-day tryout at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., March 1-3. The Eagan, Minn., native went head-to-head with more than 200 of the nation’s top collegiate volleyball players from 87 institutions across the country.
The rising sophomore will head out with 11 teammates and coaching staff for an 11-day tour of Japan, complete with training sessions and international matches, from May 19-30.
Team USA will start their competition schedule on May 22 against Nippon Sport Science University in Tokyo, one of the best collegiate volleyball teams in Japan. They will face the Japan Women’s U20 Team twice and the Japan World University Games Team twice, before concluding six matches in seven days against Okayama Seagulls in Okayama.
Melville is one of four outsides on the squad, joining AVCA All-America First Teamer Jacqueline Quade (Illinois) and All-America Second Team picks Brooke Botkin (Southern California) and Dani Drews of Utah.
The team also features AVCA Freshman of the Year Heather Gneiting from BYU and All-America Honorable Mention Taylor Morgan from Minnesota. The entire 12-player squad consists of Power 6 players – 5 Big Ten, 4 Pac 12, 1 Independent, 1 SEC, and Melville as the lone representative of The American.
BYU’s Heather Olmstead, the AVCA Coach of the Year who lead the Cougars to a 31-2 record and a Final Four appearance, was selected to lead the team. Assistant coaches Jaylen Reyes, an assistant at Nebraska and Krista Vansant, an assistant at Indiana, will join Olmstead on staff. UCF’s Director of Operations T.J. Read will also assist on the tour as the program’s technical director.
With her selection to the U.S. Women’s Collegiate National Team, Melville is also under consideration for a spot on the U.S. Women’s Junior National Team that will compete at the 2019 FIVB Women’s U20 World Championships in Mexico July 12-21.
Melville had a freshman campaign for the record books in 2019. The rookie was tabbed All-America by the American Volleyball Coaches Association and VolleyMag.com, an AVCA All-Southeast Region pick, the American Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year and a First Team All-Conference selection.
She tallied a 4.51 kills per set mark from 529 kills and totaled 22 double-doubles, including a pair of 20-20 outings, behind a 3.46 digs per set mark. She ranked in the top 10 nationally in kills, points and attacks.
Melville becomes the sixth Knight to be selected for a National Team spot and the first since 2015 when Kia Bright earned a spot on the Collegiate National Team USA Tour.
USA VOLLEYBALL COLLEGIATE NATIONAL TEAM – JAPAN TOUR ROSTER
Mica Allison (University of Illinois, White Heath, Illinois)
Saige Kaahaaina-Torres (University of Utah, Honolulu, Hawaii)
Taylor Bannister (LSU, Missouri City, Texas)
Kenzie Koerber (University of Utah, Chino Hills, California)
CC McGraw (University of Minnesota, Prior Lake, Minnesota).
Heather Gneiting (Brigham Young University, Pleasant Grove, Utah)
Taylor Morgan (University of Minnesota, Blaine, Minnesota)
Katie Myers (University of Maryland, Westerville, Ohio)
Brooke Botkin (University of Southern California (Houston, Texas)
Dani Drews (University of Utah, Sandy, Utah)
McKenna Melville (UCF, Egan, Minnesota)
Jacqueline Quade (University of Illinois, Fort Wayne, Indiana).
USA VOLLEYBALL COLLEGIATE NATIONAL TEAM – JAPAN TOUR SCHEDULE
May 22: vs. Nippon Sport Science University in Tokyo
May 23: vs. Japan Women’s U20 Team at NEC in Kawasaki
May 24: vs. Japan World University Games Team in Kawasaki
May 25: vs. Japan World University Games Team at NEC in Kawasaki
May 26: vs. Japan Women’s U20 Team at Japan National Training Center in Kita, Tokyo
May 28: vs. Okayama Seagulls in Okayama
GET THE APP
Never miss any UCF Knights news from your favorite team by downloading the free UCF Knights app right to your iOS or Android phone! The app provides personalized information for men's and women's teams, scores, schedules, loyalty programs and even breaking news.