Knights Open Season at UCF Challenge

UCF vs. Georgia Tech
Friday, Aug. 27 | 7:00 PM

UCF vs. St. John's
Saturday, Aug. 28 | 11:00 AM

UCF vs. Penn State
Saturday, Aug. 28 | 7:30 PM

ORLANDO, Fla. – The UCF Volleyball team will open its 2021 season tomorrow, Friday Aug. 27, as the Knights play their first match of the season at The Venue while they host the UCF Challenge.
The Knights open up against No. 24 Georgia Tech on Friday, followed by St. John's and No.12 Penn State on Saturday. All three matches will have live stats available and will be streamed on ESPN+.
The three-time defending American Athletic Conference Champions were selected to win the league for a fourth year in a row. The Knights picked up 10 out 11 first-place votes. It's the fourth time UCF has been voted as the favorite to win the conference as they were slotted as preseason favorites in 2015, 2019, and 2020
McKenna Melville was unanimously selected as Preseason Player of the Year. Melville, as well as Anne-Marie Watson, were both named to the Preseason All-Conference Team.
UCF will look to build off of its strong 2020-21 season that saw a conference tournament championship and an appearance in the NCAA Tournament. They finished 16-2 and had a perfect 8-0 record in conference play.
The Knights open the weekend against Georgia Tech on Friday night at 7:00 PM. The Yellow Jackets are ranked No. 24 in the country. They went 14-5 last season and made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. They return 10 people from last year's team and are one of two ranked teams playing in the UCF Challenge. 
The Yellow Jackets open up UCF Challenge play against Penn State on Friday, August 27 at 10:00 AM, then play the Knights later that night before seeing St. John's on Saturday at 5:00 PM.
UCF plays St. John's on Saturday, August 28 at 11:00 AM. The Red Storm went 10-4 last season. Reigning Big East Player of the Year, Efronsini Alexakou was picked to repeat, as the junior was selected at the Big East Preseason Player of the Year for the second year in a row.
St. John's will open UCF Challenge play against Penn State on Friday, August 27 at 4:00 PM. They then play two games on Saturday, facing the Knights at 11:00 PM and Georgia Tech at 5:30 PM.
Finally, the Knights will take on No. 12 Penn State on Sunday, August 28 at 7:30 PM. The Nittany Lions went 10-6 last year and made it to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. This year's squad was picked to finish third in the Big Ten and landed three players on the Preseason All-Conference Team. This will be the first match up between the two in program history. 

[On facing Georgia Tech]
"Georgia Tech is bringing back their entire team that was really good last year. They are dynamic in their ball handling, well-coached, they know who they are, and their athletic, especially on the right side. They are a team you have to play really well and keep out of system. They are 24th right now and that's where we aspire to be coming out of preseason. So that's our measuring stick, that is who we have to beat to make that level."
[On facing Penn State]
"Penn State is a legacy. They are one of, if not the most, winningest program in the country in terms of national championships. They are ranked 12 right now, which is way too low for who they are. The transfers that they brought in make them as good and even better than last year. But, we don't know what we are getting because of all the transfers. No matter what (head coach) Russ always finds a way to find what talent he has and build a system around it. He is not stuck to one system and that is what I've admired and appreciated about him. So we know a top five team is coming in and we know anybody is beatable on any given day."

[On facing St. John's]

"St. John's is another athletic team and they have a dynamic right-side hitter who can hit the ball anywhere on the court. They have outside hitters who have a lot of steam behind the ball and they have a middle that runs a lot of balls off of one foot, so it's hard to know where she will hit. They have votes to finish first in the league and that is a competitive league. Our goal is to be better than them, knowing that they are a good team, so we can try to work our way into the top 20-25 teams within a few weeks."

[On full capacity in The Venue]

"I think it will be our best crowd since Stanford 13 years ago where every seat was full and at least two to three people deep all the way around the top. It should be a great atmosphere all weekend long. Penn State is going to be a big draw. I encourage people to get their tickets now and show up early to find a seat."

Fans excited to be back in The Venue for the upcoming 2021 UCF volleyball season can purchase season tickets and single-game tickets online here

Due to other events on campus, parking garages F, D, and H will be $10 to on Saturday.
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The Nittany Lions open up UCF Challenge Play against the Yellow Jackets on Friday at 10:00 PM, then play St. Johns later that day at 4:00 PM before playing UCF the following day at 7:30 PM.