ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) – The 2019 season continues for UCF Volleyball on Friday, September 6, as the Knights will play their first home match of the season at The Venue as they host the UCF Challenge.
The Knights open against South Carolina on Friday, followed by on Albany on Saturday and Kansas on Sunday. All three matches will have live stats and will be available on UCFKnights.TV.
UCF Volleyball opened its 2019 season going 2-1 at the Rebel Invitational last weekend, with wins over Iowa State and Ole Miss. The Black and Gold currently lead The American in blocks (34.5) and are also fourth in digs (193) and sixth in hitting percentage (.240).
After the weekend's performance, The Knights have several players boasting top-10 numbers in the conference, including Nerissa Moravec, who is sixth in blocks per set with 1.38, Makenzie Kuchmaner, who is seventh in the conference with 4.46 digs per set, and Anne-Marie Watson, who is seventh with a .380 hitting percentage.
Kristina Fisher currently leads the UCF volleyball team with 45 kills, followed by McKenna Melville with 41 and Watson with 39. The trio's combined 125 kills have helped put UCF at seventh in the conference with 169 total kills.
The Venue has been a welcomed sight for the Black and Gold during the Todd Dagenais era. During his tenure, UCF is 24-7 on home opening weekends, including going 3-0 to open play at home last year.
The Knights open the weekend against South Carolina Friday night at 7:30 PM ET. The Gamecocks, who will enter the tournament with a 1-2 record, went 20-10 in 2018 under first-year head coach Tom Mendoza, including posting a 10-8 record in the Southeastern Conference. Their record marked an eight-win improvement over the previous season, making it the biggest season-to-season jump in program history. South Carolina is bolstered by right side hitter Mikayla Shields, who is returning to the Gamecocks after earning back-to-back All-SEC honors over the previous two seasons.
UCF will square off against Albany Saturday at 7:00 PM ET. Albany posted a 16-11 overall record in 2018 and is off to a 1-2 start in 2019. Five Great Danes who received America East All-Conference honors last season return in 2019, Chloe Evering, Akuabata Okenwa, and Danielle Tedesco were named to the Second Team, and Andersen Vaughan and Grace Cozad earned All-Rookie Team accolades. On top of being named to the All-Rookie Team, Vaughan earned America East Rookie of the Year honors.
The Knights will cap off their weekend with a 4:00 PM ET matchup against Kansas on Sunday. The Jayhawks finished their 2018 campaign going 15-12 overall and are off to a 2-0 start to begin the 2019 season. UCF has played Kansas just twice in its history, most recently in 2008. The Knights will look for their first victory against the Jayhawks this weekend.
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The Knights will head to Illinois for the Redbird Classic next weekend as they take on Marquette, Illinois, and host Illinois State. The three-day tournament begins Friday, September 13 at Redbird Arena in Normal, Illinois.