UCF Heads South for Sunshine Challenge Cup

UCF vs. Miami
Thursday, Sep. 16 | 10:00 AM

Thursday, Sep. 16 | 5:00 PM
Friday, Sep 17 | 11:00 AM

ORLANDO, Fla. – The UCF volleyball team will head south for the Sunshine Challenge Cup on Thursday and Friday, Sept. 16-17, to face three Florida foes of Miami, Florida Gulf Coast and Florida Atlantic.
All three matches will have live stats available and Friday's match against FAU will be streamed on C-USAtv.
"This is an opportunity to play three matches against quality, competitive opponents," head coach Todd Dagenais said, "It's also a fun tournament because we get to play our in-state rivals. The team is really excited to go out and cap off the tournament season."
Last weekend, the Knights hosted the UCF Invitational against big teams. UCF went 2-1 to win the tournament. The Knights opened play against FGCU to win in four, 3-1, before an emotional, five-setter against Florida State. Down to the wire, UCF took down FSU at home for the first time in the rally era. UCF had a quick turnaround to face Georgia and would drop a five-set heartbreaker.
McKenna Melville was named the AAC Offensive Player of the Week after a career weekend, notching 73 kills and hitting .322. Melville recorded a career-high 30 kills while hitting .366 against Georgia. She also posted a career-high double-double, with 27 kills and a career-high 28 digs in the win against FSU. Melville leads the conference and is highly ranked nationally in six categories. Additionally, the senior leads the nation with 4.58 career kills per set.
The Knights are looking to build off last weekend with a chance to do so against three Florida foes.
UCF opens the Sunshine State Challenge Cup against Miami (7-0) at 10:00am on Thursday, Sept. 16. The Hurricanes are undefeated on the season and most notably, they have only dropped one single set this season. Miami won the two team's last meeting in a five-setter in 2019. They have also won the past seven matchups against the Knights. UCF has not won against Miami since 1981, however, the all-time series between the two is currently tied 19-19.
Later that day, UCF will get to see FGCU (7-2) for the second time this season at 5:00pm on Thursday.
The Knights saw the Eagles last weekend at the UCF Invite where they gave FGCU its first loss of the season, winning 3-1. The Knights came out hot to take the first two sets, 25-18, 25-18 and though FGCU shut down UCF in the third, 25-15, to force the fourth, the Knights came back and secured the win in 25-15.
Erin Shomaker, who was named the ASUN conference preseason player of the year, led the Eagles with 16 kills in the matchup. She also leads the team with 99 kills and 12 aces on the season.
In the last match of the tournament, UCF will face the host team, FAU (8-2) on Friday, Sept. 17 at 11:00am. The Owls had a six-game win streak up until last weekend and are 6-1 at home. UCF has not lost to FAU since 2013 where the Owls had to use all five sets to overcome the knights. The Knights also lead the all-time series, 34-9, and won the last matchup in the 2020-21 season, 3-1.
FAU is led by freshman Klara Zamovicka who won freshman of the week in her collegiate debut. She leads the team with 134 kills, 25 aces, and is second with 88 digs and 25 blocks.

[On Playing Miami]
They have proven that they are good and have gone out and won matches convincingly. They are an experienced team, they know exactly who they are and what they are trying to do. That makes a team very dangerous to beat. But we have the opportunity to go out and beat someone who is ahead of us and try to takeover their spot.

[On Playing FGCU Again]
Round two is going to be tough because when you win the first round, you don't know what changes to make. So we have to prepare three different game plans for one match, but we have some things in the bank we can pull out if we need to. I think our 3-1 win was a fluke because the teams are much closer than that.

[On Playing FAU]
Every year it is a competitive match against them, we have been fortunate to win the last few in a row. But this is the most stable FAU team we have seen in a long time plus they are at home which makes them even more dangerous. Last time we played them at home we lost the match. They are a different, well-balanced team now which has led to their record and competitiveness.  

Follow UCF Volleyball on social media on Facebook (/UCF.Volleyball), Twitter (UCF_Volleyball) and Instagram (UCF.Volleyball).

Never miss any UCF Knights news from your favorite team by downloading the free UCF Knights app right to your iOS or Android phone! The app provides personalized information for men's and women's teams, scores, schedules, loyalty programs and even breaking news.