ORLANDO – The UCF volleyball season is just one week out from opening the season against FAU on Tuesday, Jan. 26 and the Knights will have a solid group of five outside hitters and two right side hitters ready to be a force at the net for them this season.
The Knights lost two hitters to graduation following the 2019 season in outside hitter Kristina Fisher and right side hitter Alli Sabol. The duo provided 478 kills and 79 total blocks of production over a combined 198 sets played. Fisher was named First Team All-Conference following the season and both Fisher and Sabol were an integral part of the Knights' senior leadership.
If you would like to view the roster previews for setters, liberos/defensive specialists and middle blockers on the team, you can do so here:
- Roster Preview: Setters
- Roster Preview: Liberos/Defensive Specialists
- Roster Preview: Middle Blockers
Let's meet the hitters that will be leading the charge for the Knights this season:
#1 // Morghan Chambers // Sophomore // Outside Hitter
Chambers did not see game action in her freshman season in 2019. Prior to UCF, she was a two-year letter-winner at Cedar Hills High School just outside of Dallas, Texas. There, she recorded nearly three kills per set at a .241 attack percentage. She also got it done on the defensive end as she led the team in digs as a senior and earned Dallas-Fort Worth Player of the Week honors several times. She was named First Team All-District in 2018. Her twin sister, MaKenzie is a sophomore right side hitter on the Knights as well.
#8 // Stella Gkiourda // Freshman // Outside Hitter
A highly sought-after outside hitter from Greece, Gkiourda was one of the new additions to the Knights in the offseason.Gkiourda, who commonly goes by "Stella", comes to UCF from Moschato, Greece, where she has been a part of their national women's U18 volleyball team for the past several years. Gkiourda is an outside hitter by trade and will add to an already strong hitting core for the Knights. She has been exposed to high level volleyball competition since a very young age as her father is a multi-time Olympian for Greece.
#16 Tali Marmen // Junior // Outside Hitter
Marmen, who commonly goes by "Tali", comes to UCF from Rutgers, where she played for the Scarlett Knights in 2018 and 2019. In two seasons with Rutgers, Marmen played in 167 sets, totaling 374 kills, 82 total blocks and 248 digs. Marmen also has experience playing for her country as she competed with Team Israel at the 2018 CEV Volleyball Silver European League, ranking ninth in the league with 2.79 kills per set and 25th with 46 points scored.
#17 // Mary Beth Headley// Freshman // Outside Hitter
Another new face to the Knights, Headley comes to UCF from Newnan, Georgia. There, she was a four-year letter winner at Newnan High School, where she posted a hitting percentage of .308 and received Team All-Around MVP, County Offensive Player of the Year, and region 2-AAAAAAA All-Tournament Team honors during junior year. Headley was also involved in soccer, where she received an All-Star team award in that as well.
#19 // MaKenzie Chambers // Sophomore // Right Side Hitter
Sister to UCF teammate Morghan Chambers, MaKenzie saw a solid role in her first year with the Knights in 2019, appearing in 19 matches, including seven starts. She recorded a total of 96 kills, while clipping a .245 hitting percentage on the season. To add to that, she finished the year with 44 blocks. Chambers's best performance of the season came against Kansas on September 8, where she turned in a career-high 11 kills to help solidify a spot on the UCF Challenge All-Tournament team.
#20 // McKenna Melville // Junior // Outside Hitter
Fresh off of being unanimously named the AAC Preseason Player of the Year, Melville will look to add to her historic career numbers in 2021. Playing in all 122 sets for the Knights in 2019, Melville had one of the best sophomore campaigns in program history, posting a team-high 4.49 kills per set after scorching 548 kills on the year, nearly a third of UCF's total production. Defensively, the Eagan, Minn. native recorded 3.13 digs per frame and .46 blocks per set, including a team-high 13 solos. Melville posted 22 double-doubles in 2019, including a 20-20 performance in UCF's monumental win over FSU in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The outside hitter was named the American Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Week twice in 2019, was named an AVCA All-American Honorable Mention, earned All-Conference First Team honors and was the tournament MVP in the 2019 AAC Championship, where the Knights defended their title.
#32 // Anne-Marie Watson // Senior // Right Side Hitter
Watson, who enters her senior year with the Knights in 2020-21, was named to the AAC Preseason All-Conference team to begin this season. The Oviedo, Fla. product not only proved to be an offensive weapon for UCF in 2019, posting the third highest kills per set on the team with 2.68, but she was also one of the best blockers the Knights had to offer, leading the team with 130 total blocks, including seven solo rejections. Watson posted a season-high 20 kills and six blocks in the Knights' 3-2 win over Ole Miss, hitting at a .380 clip to get there. Watson also tied the UCF record for blocks in a single match as she posted 12 against Miami early in the Knights' season. Watson is the Knight's all-time record holder for most block assists in a single season after she posted 151 of them in 2019. She was also named First Team All-Conference following the 2019 season.
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