Volleyball Returns Home to Host ECU

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ORLANDO – The 8-1 UCF volleyball team will make its return to The Venue this weekend as the Knights are set for a two-game series with ECU beginning Friday at 6:00 p.m. and wrapping up Saturday at 2:00 p.m.
Both matches will be streamed live on ESPN+.
UCF is returning home for the first time since Feb. 6. The Knights are 5-0 in The Venue this season, including wins over FAU, UNF and Tulane. Over the past three years, the Knights lead The American in home winning percentage as they are 42-7 in The Venue, good for a .860 winning percentage in front of their home crowd.

After starting 8-0 to begin the season, UCF faced its first loss of the season in a five-set heartbreaker to Florida State on Feb. 26.

Before the loss, the Knights' 8-0 start to the year surpassed the 2010's team 7-0 start and was just one win shy of tying the 1983 squad's start to the year.

UCF's hot start is reflected in the stat sheet as well. The Knights are currently leading The American conference in hitting percentage (.245), blocks (3.02 per set) and service aces (2.06 per set) and are top five in kills (fourth, 13.28 per set) and assists (fourth, 12.28 per set).

UCF has already enjoyed two players being named conference players of the week. On Feb. 8, Moravec was tabbed as The American's defensive player of the week after notching 13 block assists to go along with 12 kills in two wins against Tulane. She had eight block assists and seven kills in one match alone.

Moravec's game is also well-rounded as she is currently fifth on the team in kills, with 40 on the season. She is also hitting at a team-high .379 clip, good for second in the conference.

On Feb. 1, McKenna Melville was named the league's offensive player of the week, marking the seventh of her career as she earned the distinction two times in 2019 and was a four-time recipient in her freshman season in 2018.

Melville was unanimously tabbed the American Athletic Conference Preseason Player of the Year to begin the season in early January after posting one of the best sophomore seasons in UCF Volleyball history in 2019, finishing with a team-high 4.49 kills per set and scorching 548 kills on the year. Melville ranked 10th in total kills, 12th in total points, fifth in total attacks, 23rd in kills per set and 24th in points per set nationally in 2019.

In 2020-21, Melville is again having a stellar season, sitting at second in the conference with 4.78 kills per set and 10th in hitting percentage at .280. Melville is currently eighth all-time at UCF with 1226 career kills.

Both Moravec and Melville are UCF Volleyball co-captains.

ECU is off to a 2-4 start to the season, including an 0-4 start in conference play.

Heading into last weekend, the Pirates were 1-4 overall, including falling twice to South Florida on Feb. 18 and 19. The Pirates dropped the first match to the Bulls in four sets before seeing a big rally fall just short in five sets in the series finale.

Despite the slow start, ECU is coming off one of the biggest wins in program history. The Pirates swept in-state rival and perennial powerhouse UNC, 3-0. It was the first meeting between the two teams since 2002 and the first win for the Pirates since 1978.

The victory was the first for head coach Adler Augustin against a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference and the second straight for the program as ECU knocked off NC State, 3-2 on Sept. 10, 2019.

East Carolina is the only team to sweep UNC so far this season as the Tar Heels' previous two losses were in five sets to Virginia Tech and four to then No. 14 Duke.
The Knights are 19-10 all-time against ECU, including two wins last year, both coming in three-set sweeps for UCF.

[On ECU]
"I think a team that just looks at ECU's record and judges them off that is going to get fooled pretty bad because if you dive into the scores, the sets, the percentages and all of that, you realize that they lost a lot of sets by just two points; that's a coin flip. What their record is right now could be completely different had a ball bounced a different way or they got a different call. That's a dangerous team to play if you're not prepared, so we have to make sure we are prepared."

[On returning home]
"Some of the matches on the road with no fans in attendance, with piped in background noise, it was some of the most surreal situations I have ever been in as a coach. It wasn't a great atmosphere at all… and then to go from that to Florida State, where they had a band and a whole college volleyball atmosphere, that was a lot of fun to play in. For us to come back home, be in our gym with our fans cheering in our atmosphere, that is one of those things that kind of help you settle in a little earlier in the game."

[On looking to bounce back]
"For us, the theme continues to be getting better. Because of the shortened season and time off, we are still trying to find who we want to be. What is our best 'us'? We really still don't know what our best 'us' is yet. So, we are playing teams hungry for wins, but at the same time, still trying to figure out who we are and what makes us the best team we can be."

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