The Memphis Tigers volleyball team (11-5, 0-4 American Athletic Conference) continues to search for their first AAC win when they hit the road this weekend. They will travel to Dallas to face the Southern Methodist University Mustangs on Friday, and then travel to Orlando on Sunday to face off against the University of Central Florida Knights.
The SMU Mustangs are coming into the weekend 9-5 overall and a conference record of 2-2. They are currently on a two-game winning streak after beating both Tulsa and Wichita State, who each gave Memphis a loss last weekend. The Mustangs will have home-court advantage, having won five of their six games in Dallas so far.
Hannah Jacobs, a sophomore outside hitter, leads the team in kills with 179 on the year. Jacobs averages almost four kills per set, ranking 13th in the conference in that category.
Another player to keep an eye out for is Lily Heim, who leads SMU in assists with 575 on the season, which is also good for fourth in the conference. The freshman setter averages 11.27 assists per set and also ranks second on the team for digs with 158. Heim is an all-around player for the Mustangs.
The UCF Knights are coming into this weekend with a 10-6 record. They have won three out of their four conference games, ranking them second in the East Division trailing one game behind Cincinnati.
One key player to watch for UCF is McKenna Melville. The sophomore outside hitter has 254 total kills on the season and is ranked first on her team and second in the conference, averaging 4.23 per set. Melville is also second on the team in digs with 176 and second on service aces with 14. Her name is almost top-5 in every category for the Knights.
Kristina Fisher, the senior outside hitter from Texas, is second on the team with 169 kills. She is one service ace ahead of Melville with 15 on the year and has 167 digs on defense, which is good enough for third. Just like Melville, Fisher is almost top-five in every category for the Knights.
The Tigers have two huge games coming up this weekend against SMU and UCF. Winning both of the games would end the five-game losing streak and give the Tigers a second wind towards the rest of conference play. Among the Tigers to keep watch of are Meredith Wallace, Hannah Flowers, Sabrina Bianco and Jada Birkel. Although Birkel has not played much this season, in recent conference play she has provided a spark and got kills for the Tigers every time her number is called. Memphis will start the first game Friday at 7 p.m. and then wrap-up Sunday at 11 a.m.