Knights, Melville Tabbed as Preseason Favorites

ORLANDO – Four-time reigning American Athletic Conference Champion UCF has been selected to win the league once again in 2022, as the conference released its preseason volleyball coaches poll on Wednesday. The preseason rankings were voted on by the conference's 11 head coaches.

In addition to being selected as preseason favorites, UCF fifth-year McKenna Melville was unanimously selected as the preseason player of the year for the third consecutive year. Melville was also unanimously selected to the preseason all-conference team alongside teammates senior Claudia Dillon and fifth-year Amber Olson.

"McKenna comes back for a fifth year, having received a lot of accolades," said UCF head coach Todd Dagenais. "It's not surprising to me that she was honored with preseason player of the year, and I think she will take her fifth year in terms of being a great leader, scorer, and captain."

The Knights are projected to secure the top spot in the conference, receiving 10 of the 11 first-place votes to claim the top spot over Houston, who received 88 points in the poll. Wichita State earned the remaining first-place vote, checking in at fourth place.

This marks the fifth time the Knights have been voted as the favorite to win the conference. They were tabbed preseason favorites in 2015, 2019, 2020, and 2021.

"When fans look at the poll, I hope they realize it's much closer than what the coaches may have picked. Houston has a great team with four on the preseason all-conference team. It's going to be a fight from top to bottom to see who wins this. It's going to come down to who can win on the road. We don't need a poll for motivation or validation. All it does is put a target on our back, so we are fighting our own goals and not those of the poll."

UCF will host one more scrimmage on Saturday, Aug. 27 at 7 p.m. in the Venue before kicking off the regular season against Syracuse on Sept. 2 at 7 p.m. in the Venue.

Season tickets are available for purchase by clicking here. Season ticket members will earn priority points and have priority for post season tickets including conference championship and NCAA tournament opportunities.

Below is the breakdown of The American preseason awards:

Preseason Coaches Poll
1UCF (10)100
4Wichita State (1)74
9East Carolina32
10South Florida22

First-place votes in parenthesis
Preseason Player of the Year
McKenna Melville, Gr., OH, UCF*
Preseason All-Conference Team
Claudia Dillon, Sr., MB, UCF
Amber Olson, Gr., S, UCF
McKenna Melville, Gr., OH, UCF*
Abby Walker, So., MB/RS, Cincinnati
Annie Cooke, Jr., S, Houston
Katie Georgiades, Jr., L, Houston
Abbie Jackson, Sr., OH, Houston*
Rachel Tullos, Sr., MB, Houston*
Rachel Woulfe, Sr., OH, SMU*
Kayley Cassaday, Sr., OH, Tulsa
Natalie Foster, So., MB, Wichita State
Brylee Kelly, R-Jr., OH, Wichita State*
Kayce Litzau, Jr., S, Wichita State
* denotes unanimous selection