UCF Heads to the Palmetto Showdown

UCF vs. Clemson
Thursday, Sept. 2 | 12:00 PM

UCF vs. South Carolina
Thursday, Sept. 2 | 7:00 PM
UCF vs. South Carolina
Friday, Sept. 3 | 7:30 PM

ORLANDO, Fla. – The UCF volleyball team hits the road for the first time in the 2021 season as the Knights travel to Columbia, S.C. for the Palmetto Showdown against Clemson and No. 24 South Carolina on Thursday and Friday, Sep. 2-3.

"It's going to be a challenge for us, especially seeing how we handle business on the road and how composed we can be on the road," head coach Todd Dagenais said.

The Knights' first match is Thursday, Sep. 2 at 12:00pm to take on Clemson before seeing South Carolina Thursday evening at 7:00pm and again on Friday at 7:30pm. All three matches will have live stats and the two matches against South Carolina will be broadcasted live on SEC Network+.
UCF is coming off a big, first weekend at home against two top-ranked teams, No. 16 Georgia Tech and No. 17 Penn State, and a top team from the Big East, St. John's. The Knights swept the Red Storm, 3-0, and put a lot of pressure on the Yellow Jackets and Nittany Lions.
McKenna Melville made history against St. John's when she recorded her 1,000-career dig. She is only the seventh player in program history to have 1,000-career digs and 1,000-career kills. She was a major piece for the Knights success in the UCF Challenge, notching 44 kills on the weekend. Melville was also named to the UCF Challenge All-Tournament Team and to the conference weekly honor roll. After one weekend, Melville leads the conference in kills per set (4.40), attacks per set (11.9), and points per set (5.4).
UCF opens the Palmetto Showdown against Clemson on Thursday at 12pm. The Tigers are currently 2-0 with wins over Samford and North Carolina A&T. The Knights last saw the likes of the Tigers in 2013 where Clemson won in a five-set match. Clemson leads the all-time series, 8-4, over the Knights. The Tigers return 12 players from its 2020-21 roster that went 12-10 last season and 6-9 in the ACC, including setter McKenna Slavik who started all 22 matches last season.
Later Thursday night, the Knights will hit the court for the second time to take on No. 24 South Carolina at 7:00pm before playing them again on Friday evening at 7:30pm.
The Gamecocks are currently 2-1 with wins over No. 25 Washington State and Rice and a loss to No. 7 Pitt. It is the first time they have cracked into the top 25 since 2002. Mikayla Robinson was named SEC Offensive Player of the Week as well as SEC Player of the Week and Lauren McCutcheon was tabbed SEC Freshman of the Week. The Knights look to take the lead in the all-time series as they are currently tied, 8-8. UCF swept South Carolina, 3-0, in the last matchup in 2019.
[On Playing Clemson]
"They have experience in a good volleyball conference. They have a brand new coaching staff and I've known [head coach] Jackie for a long time. She is one of the most fiercest competitor that I know. They bring an athletic brand of volleyball to the floor, so it is going to be a tough battle athletically." 
[On Playing South Carolina]
"We get to play two more games against a ranked team and we want to be able to play teams that are nationally recognized. It is good for our resume and our experience. Mikayla Robinson is one of the best players in the SEC, she is a devastating middle in both blocking and attacking and makes everyone around her better. They are expected to finish in the top three at least in their conference only behind national champion Kentucky and perennial champion Florida. It is going to be a challenge for us, especially at their place."

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