Five Knights Earn AAC Awards

ORLANDO, Fla. – Five Knights were honored by the American Athletic Conference on Tuesday, as the league announced the 2022 AAC volleyball awards.

"The sheer number of awards are indicative of a team that has worked hard to get these awards," said head coach Todd Dagenais. "I'm pleasantly surprised that the AAC felt the same as us. Our student-athletes are among the top in the conference."
McKenna Melville was named the unanimous Player of the Year while Amber Olson was named the Setter of the Year.
Along with Melville and Olson, Abby Hansen and Claudia Dillon were named to the All-Conference First Team and Kari Zumach garnered second team honors.
The preseason prediction became reality as Melville earned the Player of the Year award for the third year in a row. She was also unanimously named to the All-Conference First Team for the fifth-straight time.

"Over the last 3 years if you were to look in the AAC record books Melville has become synonymous with being the greatest," Dagenais said. "Not only has she been among the tops in the country year in and year out. She will be remembered as one of the greatest volleyball players in UCF history. She did everything you could do as a student-athlete and she is known for what she does on the floor and off the floor. AAC player of the year is obviously well-deserved however it doesn't even begin to describe the type of year and collegiate experience she has had."
The Eagan, Minnesota native leads the NCAA Division I in kills with 2,529 and in kills per set with 5.56 this season. She also ranks first in points per set (6.17), seventh in total kills (539) and eighth in attacks per set (12.63).
A true six-rotation player, Melville has shined defensively with 240 digs (2.47 per set). The senior also leads the team in block solos with 12 this season while she has recorded 57 block assists.
Melville is an all-around threat, picking up 11 double-doubles so far this season and 80 in her career.
The outside hitter has also racked up nine offensive player of the week honors this season, two times on the honor roll this season.
Olson was named Setter of the Year and All-Conference first team for the second year in a row.

"Amber left no doubt who the setter of the year was she lapped the field," said Dagenais. "That in itself is an accomplishment. Her 11.80 assists per set is a national number, the offense we ran is among the elite in the nation. She was the quarterback for that offense. Earning setter of the year was the perfect way to cap off her final year."
The Cary, Illinois native leads the team with 1,135 assists, 11.80 assists per set, and 18 aces. The senior leads the American with 12.15 assists per set.
Olson has notched 12 double-doubles this season, marking her 42nd of her career. She has also recorded 262 digs and 67 blocks for the Knights.
In her first season as a Knight, Hansen earned All-Conference first team.

"Abby dominated the conference in terms of attacking and blocking," Dagenais added "She should've been one of the easier choices in the conference. She put together the kind of year that she will remember for the rest of her life."

The Phoenix, Arizona native is a dual threat for the Knights as both an attacker and a blocker as she is second on the team in points (276.5), kills (213), and in total blocks (117).
The middle blocker has also earned a defensive player of the week and was named to the honor roll twice this season.
Dillon earned All-Conference First Team honors. Since joining UCF, the middle blocker has been a threat at the net both offensively and defensively.

"We kept calling Claudia steady all year long and if you look back at the box scores, she was just that with having numbers right around the same area, Dagenais said. "She was the glue that held the team together. She deserves to be recognized as one of the top middle blockers in the conference."
The Evergreen, Colorado native is third on the team in points (265), in kills (192), and blocks (91). She has also been dangerous behind the service line, recording 23 aces this season. Her hitting percentage of .438 ranks fifth in the nation.
Dillon was named the offensive player of the week once this season.
Zumach was named to the All-Conference Second Team after her first season with the Black and Gold.

"Kari came here to be a champion and I know the special individual award for her is just icing on the cake for her career," said Dagenais.

The Buffalo, Minnesota native has been the anchor to UCF's blocking game with a total of 58 blocks.
Zumach leads the conference and is 12th in the nation with 1.39 blocks per set and eighth with 145 total blocks. She is one of the top NCAA Division I active career leaders in blocks per set (ninth) and total blocks (526).
The graduate student was also named to the AAC honor roll once this season.

Back in the NCAA Tournament for the fifth season in a row, the Knights will open the tournament against Yale on Friday, December 2 in State College, Penn. The first-round match is set for 5:00 p.m.

Player of the Year
McKenna Melville, Gr., OH, UCF (unanimous)
Libero of the Year
Kate Georgiades, Jr., Houston (unanimous)
Setter of the Year
Amber Olsen, Gr., UCF
Coach of the Year
David Rehr, Houston
Freshman of the Year
Angeles Alderete, OH, East Carolina
First Team All-Conference
McKenna Melville, Gr., OH UCF
Abbie Jackson, Sr., OH Houston
Amber Olson, Gr., S, UCF
Kate Georgiades, Jr., L, Houston
Abby Hansen, Gr., MB, UCF
Natalie Foster, MB, So., Wichita State
Claudia Dillon, Sr., MB, UCF
Isabel Theut, MB, Gr., Houston
Jamison Wheler, So., OH, SMU
Marieke van der Mark, Gr., OPP, SMU
Kayley Cassaday, Sr., OH, Tulsa
Brylee Kelly, R-Jr., Wichita State
Second Team All-Conference
Rachel Tullos, MB, Sr., Houston
Celia Cullen, Jr., S, SMU
Angeles Alderete, Fr., OH, East Carolina
Sophia Rohling, Jr., OPP, Wichita State
Carly Glendinning, Fr., OH, Cincinnati
Zari Zumach, Gr., RS, UCF
Bailey Houlihan, Jr., L, Memphis
Abby Walker, So., MB, Cincinnati