UCF Advances to Second Round with Win Over No. 25 Pepperdine

Photo Gallery

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – The UCF volleyball team (27-6) took down No. 25 Pepperdine (22-6) in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in four sets on Friday night at Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles, California with scores of 25-19, 25-23, 24-26, 25-22.
UCF advances to the second round for the fourth time in program history (2019, 2003, 1997) and extends to a 16-game winning streak. The Knights will play Saturday night at 10:00 p.m. ET against the winner of No. 13 UCLA and Fairfield in hopes up advancing to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time in program history.
"We knew it was going to be a shootout-type match against Pepperdine," head coach Todd Dagenais said, "We are very happy to be advancing and we congratulate Pepperdine on a great team and a great season. I am very proud of our entire team because everybody owns a piece of this. This doesn't happen without everyone."
McKenna Melville led with a big double-double of 25 kills, hitting .324, and 18 digs. Anne-Marie Watson notched eight kills, hitting .333, and eight blocks while Nerissa Moravec recorded 10 blocks, helping UCF out-block Pepperdine 10-4.
Heidi Bonde put up nine kills to hit .318 and Claudia Dillon grabbed eight kills, hitting .318.
Amber Olson earned 44 assists and Chloe Scheer led with three aces on the night.
Though the Knights trailed by a few points early on in the first set, UCF fought back to tie it at 10 before turning up the heat to lead 17-13 with three straight blocks from Watson and Moravec. Bonde came up with a pair of big kills to side out and the Knights took the first set 25-19.
Pepperdine used a 3-0 run to lead 3-1 in the second, but the Knights took over from there after using their own 3-0 run, 8-6. Scheer picked up back-to-back aces and UCF followed up with a 3-0 run to grab its biggest lead of the set, 16-10. The Waves tried to make things interesting in the end with a pair of 3-0 runs, but Moravec got the kill to secure the set in 25-23 to go up two sets.
UCF led 6-4, but Pepperdine was not going down without a fight and battled back to take the lead, 8-7. The Knights grabbed a 4-0 run, 11-8, forcing the Waves to call a timeout. Pepperdine quickly turned it around to lead 15-13 and continued to hold a lead from there. Down 21-24, UCF worked its way to tie it up 24 all, but the Waves came out on top to win the third set, 26-24, forcing the fourth set.
The Waves grabbed the first three points of the fourth set, but the Knights would counter with a big 7-0 run with four kills from Melville to lead 7-3. UCF kept plays alive to hold a slight lead, 17-14. Pepperdine gave everything that had to push past, but the Knights got the set win in 25-22 to win the match.


The Knights advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament tomorrow at 10:00 p.m. ET at the Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles, California against the winner of No. 13 UCLA and Fairfield.
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.