2019 Schedule Announced

ORLANDO, Fla. ( – Highlighted by 14 home matches, the UCF volleyball team announced its 2019 schedule on Friday afternoon. The 28-match slate features 14 contests against teams that reached the postseason in 2018.

The Knights return the core of its 2018 American Athletic Conference Championship team, with All-America libero Jordan Pingel as the lone departure. Freshman All-America selection McKenna Melville, fresh off a tour of Japan with the U.S. Collegiate National Team, anchors a lineup with seven of the nine starting rotation players back, including all-conference honorees Kristina Fisher and Anne-Marie Watson.

The squad will be bolstered by five newcomers, including graduate transfer Makenzie Kuchmaner from N.C. State. Rookies Dresi Pass, Megan Lively and Morghan and MaKenzie Chambers will vie for their spots in the rotation.

Head coach Todd Dagenais returns for his 12th season at the helm. With a career mark of 212-140 (.602), Dagenais needs 25 victories to pass Lucy McDaniel for the program record.

“I’m really excited about our schedule,” head coach Todd Dagenais said. “We play a lot of NCAA Tournament-caliber teams. Our job is to get a high RPI, and that comes from facing quality opposition. Our conference is one of the best in the nation. We have to do our job against a quality non-conference and league schedule.

 “This year, we made a concerted effort to schedule the toughest non-conference schedule we’ve ever had in my time at UCF. Last year, we found the reward for scheduling tough and playing well against those teams was a seed in the NCAA Tournament, which was unprecedented for many programs.

“We did the same this year by scheduling a lot of great teams across the board. It will provide a great challenge, but we’re returning the vast majority of our lineup, in addition to bringing on Makenzie Kuchmaner. We’ll be able to go out and handle the trials.”

• 14 home matches
• 9 matches against NCAA Tournament teams
• 5 matches against National Invitational Volleyball Championship teams
• 2 matches against conference champions
• 1 match against a Final Four team
• 2 matches against NCAA Tournament host teams
• 1 match against the top 5 RPI
• 4 matches against top 25 RPI
• 9 matches against top 50 RPI
• 12 matches against top 75 RPI
• 16 matches against top 100 PRI

The Knights open the year on the road at the Rebel Invitational, hosted by Ole Miss. The Black and Gold will face Iowa State, Rice and Ole Miss over the course of the three-day tournament.

• UCF will face Iowa State and Ole Miss for the first time.
• The Knights will renew their rivalry with former Conference USA foe Rice for the first time since 2012.

UCF CHALLENGE Sept. 6-Sept. 8
The Black and Gold opens play at The Venue with the UCF Challenge. The Knights will welcome South Carolina, Kansas and Albany for their first weekend at home.

• UCF will look to even its all-time series with South Carolina at 8-8, after the two sides last met in 1996.
• Kansas won the only two meetings between the two clubs with the last contest back in 2008.
• The Knights will play Albany for the first time.

One of the most challenging weekends of the year will take place at the Redbird Classic, hosted by Illinois State. UCF will face the No. 3 seed Illini and No. 14 Golden Eagles from the 2018 NCAA Tournament, as well as at-large selection and host Illinois State.

• UCF trails the all-time series against Illinois and Marquette after falling in 2012 and 2014, respectively.
• The Knights won their only matchup against Illinois State back in 2003.

The non-conference season concludes with the third edition of the Sunshine State Classic at The Venue. In-state opponents FGCU, Miami and FAU will come to Orlando for the final tournament.

• UCF and FGCU will square off for the fourth time in two years, after the Knights went 2-1 against the Eagles in 2-1. The Knights lead the series 5-2.
• The Black and Gold improved to 32-9 all-time against FAU, following a sweep in Miami last year.
• Miami dealt the Knights one of their three regular season losses in the tournament finale last year.

WAR ON I-4 - at South Florida, Oct. 11 – vs. South Florida, Nov. 1
The Knights will face South Florida twice during American Athletic Conference play. UCF claimed all six points in the annual rivalry to help the Black and Gold dominate the 2018-19 series 70-14. The Knights have topped the Bulls on the volleyball court for eight straight meetings dating back to 2011.

South Florida holds the series lead 45-36. UCF has swept the Bulls five times over the last 12 meetings.

• Weekends against UConn and Temple bookend conference play. UCF will host the two clubs on Sept. 27 and 29, respectively, before heading north to Temple (Nov. 14) and UConn (Nov. 16).
• The Knights will go head-to-head with Cincinnati twice during the season, on the road on Oct. 4 and in Orlando on Nov. 10.
• The Black and Gold will face a resurgent Wichita State team on the road on Oct. 18.
• UCF will face Tulane just once during the regular season, at home on Oct. 27.
• The Black and Gold will face a resurgent Wichita State team on the road on Oct. 18.

“Looking ahead at the conference, our league continues to grow and become one of the toughest in the country,” Dagenais added. “Four to five teams have an opportunity to be on the board on Selection Sunday. Every team has improved from last year. Most of the top players are back. It’s going to be a challenge this year. I’m disappointed we’re dropping down to 16 matches.”

The season culminates with the inaugural American Athletic Conference Tournament. UCF will host the first edition in The Venue Nov. 22-24. The league will be split into two divisions for the 2019 season. Six teams will qualify for the tournament, with the top team from each division receiving a first-round bye.

“I’ve never been a fan of a conference tournament, but we have the benefit of hosting it after being the champions last year,” Dagenais added. “I think our automatic qualifier should be based on a team’s performance over three and a half months, rather than three days. With that said, I’m excited to have more opportunities to play in front of the best fan base in The American, if not the country. The team will thrive off that energy and will be ready to face the three-day schedule.”

Follow UCF Volleyball on social media on Facebook (/UCF.Volleyball), Twitter (UCF_Volleyball) and Instagram (UCF.Volleyball).

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.