Knights Send Four to Team USA Open Program

USAV Release

ORLANDO, Fla. – Three Knights and a volleyball staff member will represent UCF at the 2022 USA Volleyball National Team's Open Program, taking place from February 25-27 at the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
The Women's National Team Open Program (WNTOP), formerly known as the Open Tryout, is a part of the selection process for the U.S Women's National Team, NCAA Elite Athlete List, and 2022 Collegiate National Team.
Led by U.S. Women's Head Coach Karch Kiraly, the Women's National Team staff and volleyball coaches from around the country, athletes will participate in skill-specific activities and match play throughout the Open Program.
"We've got three players going and not only do you send them out there to perform, but you send them out there to get a little bit of experience against great players and a little bit of confidence when you go out and have success against those players," head coach Todd Dagenais said, "This is a multifaceted trip for them."
McKenna Melville is coming off another historic season as the nation's leader in kills and points and was honored as AVCA All-America Third Team, All-America Second Team, and CoSIDA Academic All-America First Team. Melville was also named the AAC Player of the Year for the second consecutive year and earned her fourth First-Team All-Conference accolade. The outside hitter led the team with 383 digs and 16 block solos while also recording 19 double doubles on the season.
"McKenna was the last one we sent out to a trial and made one of the national teams," Dagenais said, "McKenna's skills have only grown and gotten better over time. I'm sure she is looking forward to that opportunity to compete day in and day out three sessions a day against the best in the country.
Amber Olson became UCF's first AAC Setter of the Year while earning First Team All-Conference honors for the first time in her career last season. Olson posted a career-high 51 assists and recorded 11 double doubles on the season. She led the team with 1,243 assists and 41 aces. Olson was third on the team in digs with 273 while also adding 55 kills and 62 blocks.
"I think this will be a great opportunity for Amber to show how much she has grown in the last two years and how she has become a student of the game while giving her an opportunity to work with a court full of All-Americans," Dagenais said, "She may be able to try and do things she can't always do here, so I'm looking forward to seeing and hearing how she goes in and competes with the best in the nation."
In her first season with the Knights, Claudia Dillon was named First Team All-Conference after totaling 207 kills, 291 points, 98 blocks, and 33 aces. She was named the AAC Defensive Player of the Week once while the following week, she earned Offensive Player of the Week.
"Claudia is going to go in there and she is not going to back down from any heavy arm in the gym," Dagenais said, "She has a lethal, strong, powerful, and versatile arm and that's going to give her a chance to be very competitive when she is in Colorado Springs. Plus it gives them an opportunity to look at her as either an outside or right side hitter."
Director of Operations, TJ Read, was named as a technical coordinator for the open program. He finished his fourth season with UCF where he manages the DataVolley analytics and assists with video operations for the coaching staff, in addition to managing the day-to-day operations of the program. 
"TJ is known as one of the finest Director of Operations and technical coordinators in the entire country," Dagenais said, "We've been very lucky to have him because that's been a position that has become prominent in volleyball programs across the country. It's always good when a staff member gets recognized and gets asked to serve the national team."

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