The UCF Knights volleyball team will be going to Hollywood for the NCAA Tournament as the Knights found out on Sunday night that they will be the 2 seed in the Los Angeles Regional. The team will take on Pepperdine at 7:30 p.m. ET on Friday night. UCLA is the host and the National No. 13 seed and will host Fairfield at 10 p.m.
This marks the Knights’ 12th trip to the NCAA tournament, fourth in a row, and fifth under head coach Todd Dagenais. The last time UCF went to four-straight tournaments was from 1994-97.
The trip to Los Angeles is full circle for Dagenais who was an assistant coach at USC for three seasons (05-07) under legendary Head Coach Mick Haley and was part of the Trojans’ Final Four run in 2007.
1997 was the last time in a normal NCAA Tournament that the Knights have been sent outside of Florida when they were sent to Wisconsin. That team was led by UCF Hall of Famers Tyra Harper and Renata Menchikova. This Knights team is led by future UCF Athletics Hall of Famer McKenna Melville, who is No. 1 in the NCAA in kills and points entering the NCAA Tournament.
The Knights will be looking to win their 4th NCAA Tournament in the Division 1 era and get to the second round which they have done three previous times in 1997, 2003, and most recently in 2019.
They will first have to get past Pepperdine from the West Coast Conference, who is entering NCAA Tournament for the 25th time in program history and comes in with a 21-5 record on the season.
This regional includes three of the top 15 players in the country in Kills, Kills per set, and points with Melville ranking 1st in Kills (578), Points (657.5), and 7th in Kills per set (4.98).
Pepperdine is led by Rachel Ahrens who ranks 10th in kills per set (4.79), 12th in points (560), and kills (484).
UCLA is led by Mac May who ranks 11th in points (563.5), Kills per Set (4.76), and points (495).
UCF got some more good news on Sunday night as Melville, along with Amber Olson, announced they would return for a fifth season in 2022.
BREAKING #UCF VOLLEYBALL NEWS:— Bryson Turner (@itsBrysonTurner) November 29, 2021
Outside Hitter McKenna Melville and Setter Amber Olson revealed to @ucf_marcdaniels at the @NCAAVolleyball Selection Show Watch Party that they will return to the Knights next season for their extra year of eligibility. pic.twitter.com/kESpoFTYKs
The news is huge as Melville and Olson will be chasing some UCF records in 2022 as well as a fifth AAC Championship and NCAA Tournament appearance which would be historic.
First, however, Melville and Olson’s immediate focus is on doing another program first: be part of UCF’s first-ever Sweet 16 team in the D1 era. The chase for History starts on Friday night.