Quartet Headed to USA Tryouts

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) – The UCF volleyball team will be well represented at the 2019 USA Volleyball Women’s Open Tryout this weekend, March 1-3 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Freshman McKenna Melville and sophomore Anne-Marie Watson will vie for spots on the U.S. Women’s National Team and the U.S. Collegiate National Team. Melville is also eligible for the U/S/ Women’s Junior National Team what will compete at the 2019 FIVB Women’s U20 World Championship in Mexico July 12-21.

“This is an amazing opportunity for McKenna and Anne-Marie,” head coach Todd Dagenais said. “Both players had vital roles in our championship winning season last year. They will both have a chance to go up against some of the best young players in the nation. McKenna has already shown that she is one of the premier players in our league, so I have no doubt that she will make an impact during her tryout. For Anne-Marie, I couldn’t be prouder of her. This is a testament to all her hard work and the improvements she has made over the last two years. This tryout will showcase how far our program has come over the last few years.”

Dagenais will also send two of his staff members out to the tryouts in Colorado. Associate head coach Brian Doyon will serve as an evaluator, while director of operations T.J. Read will work as one of eight DataVolley inputters.

“In addition to our two student-athletes taking part in the tryout, we’re excited to have Brian and TJ be a part of the selection process as well,” Dagenais added. “Brian has become an invaluable member of our staff during his first two seasons here. His game plans and on-court instruction have helped our program take the next step. TJ’s work with DataVolley has been second to none. He has been instrumental in how we use analytics to improve our program.”

Melville was named an All-American by the AVCA and VolleyMag.com. She also garnered All-Southeast Region, American Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year and All-Conference laurels as a rookie in 2018. The Eagan, Minn., native tallied a 4.51 kills per set mark from 529 kills. Melville 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.

Watson was a staple of the UCF starting lineup, playing in 110 sets and making 23 starts. The sophomore totaled 225 kills and 123 total blocks. Watson set the program record with 12 block assists when the Knights beat Cincinnati on the road on Oct. 12. Her 114 block assists rank seventh in program history. An efficient hitter, Watson finished with an attack percentage above .250 and more than 10 kills in eight matches this season.

Doyon completed his second season at UCF in 2018, during which he was elevated to associate head coach. His primary role is to oversee skill and player development for the Knights. He has played a prominent role in structuring UCF’s gameplan with the staff. The Knights set the school record for digs per set with 17.2 and notched the third most blocks in a single season with 305.5.

Read joined UCF in the summer of 2018 after spending one season at N.C. State. In addition to his duties managing the day-to-day operations of the program, Read manages the DataVolley analytics and assists with video operations for the coaching staff.

The tryout will evaluate athletes from 87 colleges from across the country for spots on the U.S. Women’s National Team and the U.S. Collegiate National Team program. The breakdown for the tryout includes 56 outside hitters, 46 liberos, 44 setters, 42 middles and 30 opposites.

U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Karch Kiraly will direct the entire tryout process. The tryout will involve four sessions with three waves per session. Friday’s first session goes from 2-8 p.m. MT, while Saturday’s sessions are at 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. The final session on Sunday begins at 7:30 a.m. MT with tournament style play, along with 16-18 athletes selected by the U.S. Women’s National Team staff to participate in a “USA” training session. The Sunday session wraps up at 10:30 a.m. MT.

ll sessions minus the USA training session on Sunday morning will be streamed live by clicking here. USA Volleyball will use #USAVtryout as the event hashtag for photos, notes, quotes and stories posted to its social media platforms Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram under the handle @usavolleyball.

Selected athletes for the U.S. Women’s National Team may begin their training in Anaheim, California, as early as the spring of 2019, or when an athlete’s scholastic or professional club season has concluded.

The U.S. Collegiate National Team program has three competition options:

  • U.S. Women’s Collegiate National Team – World University Games, Italy, June 30-July 14
  • U.S. Women’s Collegiate National Team – Japan, May 19-30
  • U.S. Women's Collegiate National Team – Anaheim, Calif., June 23-29

Selections for the U.S. Collegiate National Teams will be made by the end of March. For additional information on the team and to follow the tryout throughout the weekend, click here.

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