The UCF Knights Volleyball team came in to their American Athletic Conference showdown with Cincinnati on November 9th riding a 19-match win streak with a chance to clinch The American Championship with wins over the Bearcats and ECU on the weekend.
The match-up between the Knights and Bearcats was a clash of the top two teams in The American. UCF came in ranked #22. It was a rematch from an earlier classic Cincinnati where the Knights would win on the road in five sets. That win would put UCF into the top 25 ranking for the first time in the Division I era.
The second matchup was a showcase between All-America and AAC Player of the Year candidates McKenna Melville of UCF, who was having one of the greatest freshman seasons any Knight has ever had, going up against another All-America and eventual AAC Player of the Year Jordan Thompson, who powered the Bearcats’ offense with 31 kills in the match and led Cincinnati to a 2-1 lead.
But the Knights would mount a comeback led by Melville, who connected on 26 kills to go along with 20 digs, as UCF would rally to win the final two sets to beat the Bearcats, 3-2.
The win extended the Knights’ unbeaten streak to 20 matches and brought the Black and Gold within one win of clinching a share of the conference title.
With the win, UCF would only need a win against East Carolina two days later on November 11th to clinch the program’s second American Championship. Any thoughts of a letdown from the emotional five-set win over Cincinnati would soon disappear as UCF swept ECU to clinch the title.
The win extend UCF’s streak to 21 matches in a row and the Knights would go to host the NCAA Tournament regional for the first time in program history.