Courtesy: American Athletic Conference
Through the first four weeks of American Athletic Conference volleyball play, UCF and Cincinnati have maintained perfect league records with 7-0 marks, sitting two matches ahead of third-place Tulsa (5-2). The top of the standings will meet on Sunday, when the Knights head to St. Ursula Academy to take on the Bearcats. Both UCF and Cincinnati received votes in the latest AVCA national coaches’ poll. Following this weekend’s 12 conference matches, The American teams will have reached the midway point of their conference slates.
- In the third NCAA RPI report of the season, the league saw four teams listed in the top 50. After extending its winning streak to 13 matches, UCF moved into the No. 13 spot, marking its third-straight week in the top 15. Wichita State followed at No. 30, while Cincinnati moved into the top 40 after another weekend sweep. Tulsa jumped up 20 spots higher after taking on the Bearcats and defeating ECU last weekend.
- Cincinnati outside and right side hitter Jordan Thompson continues to make American Athletic Conference history, as the junior set her fourth league record over the weekend and became the first conference player to earn National Player of the Week status twice in the same season. Thompson knocked down an all-time conference and program record 44 kills in a five-set thriller at Wichita State while hitting .404. She also had 27 kills on .392 hitting with 18 digs in a win over Tulsa. She averaged 7.89 kills, 8.39 points, 3.00 digs and 0.56 blocks per set with a .400 hitting percentage and five blocks throughout the week to earn her second Sports Imports/AVCA National Player of the Week honor. She also picked up her fifth conference weekly accolade this season.
- Thompson became the first American player to reach the 40-kill mark in a match and leads the nation for a seventh-straight week in both kills and points. A week ago, she set the conference’s record in both kills and points. Thompson’s 1,541 career kills and 4.89 kills per set currently rank fifth and second, respectively, nationally among active Division I NCAA players. The Bearcats have been on the road for the past four matches and will travel to Dayton on Wednesday for their final nonconference match. Cincinnati will return home over the weekend and welcome USF to the gym on Friday night before hosting UCF on Sunday.
- UCF’s 7-0 conference record and 13-match winning streak was complimented by a host of milestones that highlighted their historic weekend. UCF libero Jordan Pingel collected her 2,000th-career dig in a win over UConn on Sunday after the Knights’ head coach Todd Dagenais earned his 200th-career win against Temple on Friday night. Pingel is just the second player in conference history to register 2,000 digs. Dagenais is just the second coach in UCF history to reach 200 wins. To add to the Knights’ historical weekend, the program earned its 1,000th all-time victory. The Knights are just the 24th NCAA Division I team to reach that milestone.
- UCF freshman outside hitter McKenna Melville continues her dominant rookie campaign, leading The American with 12 double-doubles this season. UCF leads the conference and ranks in the nation’s top 25 with 13.29 assists and 14.04 kills per set. On defense, the Knights have held opponents to hitting under .200 14 times. UCF is 10-0 at the Venue this season, but will hit the road this weekend, following a four-match home stretch. The Knights will head to ECU and Cincinnati.
- After falling to Cincinnati on Friday, Tulsa bounced back in a battle for third place against ECU on Sunday. The Golden Hurricane defeated the Pirates in four sets to claim the sole third-place spot in The American and improved to 8-1 at the Reynolds Center this season. Senior outside hitter Emily Thorson collected her 1,000th-career kill, as outside hitter Rachel Moore recorded a double-double, posting 10 kills and 13 digs in the victory. Tulsa will head to Texas to face Houston and SMU this weekend. ECU will look to rebound at home against UCF and USF.
- Tulane and Memphis enjoyed weekend sweeps while hosting The American’s Texas duo over the weekend. The Green Wave outlasted SMU in five sets on Friday and defeated Houston 3-1 on Sunday. Tulane leads the conference and ranks top 20 in the nation in blocks (201.5), kills (1,112), assists (1,064) and opponent hitting percentage (.155).
- Memphis also beat Houston in four sets and SMU in five sets. It marked the first weekend sweep for the Tigers since the 2016 season, as first year head coach Sean Burdette picked up his first two American Athletic Conference wins. Right side hitter Hannah Flowers led Memphis, averaging 19 kills per match (4.22 kills per set) and hitting .281.
- USF ended its weekend on a high note, earning its fifth five-set victory of the season with a hard-fought win over Temple. The Bulls are also 6-0 in three-set matches and 5-0 on the road this year. USF will put its perfect road record on the line when it travels to first-place Cincinnati on Friday before heading south to ECU on Sunday. Outside hitter Jac’cara Walker and setter Briana Stowell each have 10 double-doubles this year, which rank No. 2 in the conference.