This story has been updated.
The UCF Knights will host the first-ever American Athletic Conference Volleyball Tournament from November 22-24, 2019, according to schedule releases by the University of Cincinnati and East Carolina University.
This has kind of been the worst-kept secret in the world in AAC Volleyball circles, but the releases of Cincinnati and ECU’s schedules spilled the beans. Both specifically mention that the season-ending tournament will be held at UCF, since the Knights are the defending conference champions.
As stated in Cincinnati’s release:
“New to 2019, the AAC will host a postseason tournament with the winner receiving an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. In previous years the regular season champion received the automatic bid. The AAC Tournament will be held at the site of the previous season’s champion; it will take place in Orlando in 2019.”
UPDATE: UCF has released its schedule for the 2019 Volleyball season. According to the release:
“Six teams will qualify for the tournament, with the top team from each division receiving a first-round bye.”
It has not been mentioned whether the tournament will be hosted at The Venue or in Addition Financial Arena. The American has not officially announced the tournament as of yet.
UPDATE: The American Athletic Conference has clarified to us that the format of the forthcoming American Volleyball Championship has not yet officially been announced. We regret any confusion.
The last time UCF Volleyball played in a conference tournament was in 2012, the school’s final year in Conference USA. The Knights reached the final before losing to Tulsa in the Golden Hurricane’s home gym. There was no C-USA Volleyball Tournament the previous two seasons, and when UCF made the jump to The American, the coaches decided there would be no tournament, and the regular season champion would take the league’s automatic NCAA bid.
UCF did just that in 2014 and again last season.
UCF last hosted a conference volleyball tournament in 2004, as a member of the Atlantic Sun Conference. The 5-seed Knights lost in the first round to eventual champion Jacksonville.
That snapped UCF’s three-year reign as A-Sun Volleyball Tournament champs (2001-2003), the last two of which were won on the Knights’ home court in The Venue, then known as UCF Arena.
Interestingly, the last time UCF won a conference tournament, they faced Cincinnati in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Gainesville, and defeated the Bearcats in five before losing to Florida in the second round. It was the Knights’ second-ever win in the NCAA Tournament, behind a 1997 first round win over Clemson.
Some other notes from Cincy and ECU’s releases:
- The American’s conference volleyball schedule will consist of 16 matches over eight weeks. Last year teams played 18 matches over nine weeks.
- ECU’s release states the league will switch to a divisional format, with UCF, USF, ECU, Cincinnati, UConn and Temple on one side, and Wichita State, Tulsa, Tulane, Houston, Memphis and SMU on the other. Teams would play home-and-home with their divisional foes, and play squads on the other side only once (three of them away, and three at home).
- The tournament is slated for the Friday, Saturday and Sunday prior to Thanksgiving. Selection Sunday is scheduled for December 1st, with the first weekend of the NCAA Volleyball Championship taking place December 5-7. The Final Four is scheduled for December 19-21 in Pittsburgh.