March 19th marked the 15th anniversary of Stephanie Best's historic game against Army in 2003, when she set a school record with three home runs. But what made this game go down as the greatest UCF Softball performance, and one of greatest by any UCF athlete, was Best's two grand slams in the 2nd inning, which set the NCAA Record for most grand slams in a game and most in one inning. Best also set the NCAA record with 11 RBI. All of those NCAA records still stand today.
This is the second and final part of our series breaking down the greatest individual performances in UCF history. In Part 1 we broke down the top five performances in football. So here we break down some of best individual performances in other UCF sports. In honor of Stephanie Best, who wore the number 3, we will do three choices for Softball, Baseball, Men's Basketball and Women's Soccer. The choices are in chronological order.
Bo Clark vs. Florida Memorial - January 31, 1977
When you look at the UCF Basketball record books, Bo Clark's name shows up very often. Clark played at UCF for his dad Torchy from 1975-1980, when the program was in Division II, and was inducted into the UCF Athletics Hall of Fame in 1998. Clark's number 23 was also retired. Clark still has the record for the most points in a game by any UCF player at any level, which was set on January 31, 1977 vs. Florida Memorial when Clark scored 70 points. Keep in mind Clark played in era where there was no three-point line.
"I don’t care what level of college ball you play, that is an impressive performance with no three point line," UCF sports historian Bill Beekman said of Clark's performance. In 2009, UCF Basketball profiled the 40 best players in program history. Here is Doug Richards' profile on Clark.
Jermaine Taylor vs. Rice - February 25, 2009
Jermaine Taylor put on a show on this night, setting UCF Basketball's Division I single-game scoring record with 45 points.
"Jermaine Taylor's 45-point game versus Rice in 2009 was the best single-game performance I witnessed," said Marc Daniels. "He scored 26 of UCF's 30 points in the second half."
Daniels also pointed out that this game concluded an incredible four-game stretch for Taylor. From February 12th through February 25th, Taylor average 38.3 points: 38 vs. UTEP, 35 vs. Tulsa, 35 vs. Houston and 45 vs. Rice. You can see highlights of Taylor's performance against Rice on the March 4, 2009 edition of "UCF SportsKnight" at the 3:27 mark.
Matt Williams vs. South Florida - January 17, 2017
Matt Williams scored a career high 38 points on 12/23 from the floor plus an American Conference and a UCF-record 11 three-pointers, going 11/21 from deep. It marked the most points scored by a Knight since Taylor 's 45 against Rice.
Pete McLaughlin vs. Columbia - April 1973
Pete McLaughlin is the only UCF pitcher in history to throw a complete-game no-hitter. Mitch Houck and Austin Hudson combined on the other UCF no-hitter back on March 17, 2008 vs. Wagner. But McLaughlin did it in April of 1973 against Columbia, the first year of UCF Baseball in the NCAA. McLaughlin also struck out 18 batters that day, which is still tied for the program record.
Justin Pope at South Carolina (NCAA Tournament Regional) - May 26, 2001
Stats-wise, this was not Justin Pope's best start in his UCF Hall of Fame career. He allowed six runs on 11 hits, with 8 strikeouts and 6 walks. But the stats do not tell the story of his performance.
UCF was a 1-seed in South Carolina but was depleted in the bullpen after they had to use their second ace Jason Arnold in relief on Friday for a come-from-behind 13-12 win against 4-seeded Princeton. Pope pitched on Saturday's winners bracket game in front of a "packed, hostile crowd in Columbia where UCF batters in the on-deck circle faced thrown pennies and batteries from fans. It created an insane environment," according to Marc Daniels, who called the game on the radio.
"Pope battled and battled. There was never a thought of going to the bullpen and he threw big pitch after big pitch as UCF held on to win 8-6," said Daniels, who says its best performance by any UCF Baseball player he has ever seen in all his years broadcasting UCF Baseball. "Pope's performance and pitch count cannot be forgotten. Considering the stakes, the crowd and the moment, he was incredible."
Pope was inducted into UCF Hall of Fame in 2013.
Chris Duffy at Tulane - May 22, 2010
Chris Duffy had a memorable 2010 season where he was a Golden Spikes Finalist and set UCF single-season record for homers with 21. In his last game as a Knight vs. Tulane, Duffy went 3/3 with two homers and 6 RBI, 3 runs scored and 2 walks, including a grand slam in his last at bat, tying the UCF career record for home runs with 43, .
Duffy ended the season with a .447 batting average, which also set a UCF record. His 6 RBI gave him the school record of 81 for the season.
Michelle Akers vs. Rutgers - October 21, 1988
In 40 years of following UCF Athletics as a media member and as a fan, Kevin Reis told me that his favorite UCF athlete ever is Michelle Akers.
Akers, who is one of greatest soccer players of all-time and argubaly greatest athlete ever produced by UCF, played in 1984 and 1986-1988, leading UCF to the College Cup Final Four in 1987. She was a four-time All-American during her time at UC,F and won the Herman Award in 1988, which goes to the best college soccer player in the country. Akers was also name UCF's Athlete of the Year in 1988.
There are many games to pick from Akers' career, but her game against Rutgers in 1988 stands alone. Akers scored a career-high three goals on a school record 13 shots and dominated in a UCF win. Akers' #10 was retired by UCF, and she was inducted into the UCF Athletics Hall of Fame in 1998.
Kelly Kochevar vs. Stetson - October 26, 1993
Kelly Kochevar scored five goals in a win against Stetson, which still stands today as record for most goals in one game by a UCF soccer player. In fact, this fall will mark the 25-year anniversary of that performance. Kochevar played at UCF from 1991-1994, and is the program's all-time leading goal scorer with 53 career goals, including 20 game-winners - both UCF records. Kochevar was inducted into UCF Athletics Hall of Fame in 1998 alongside Akers.
Aline Reis vs. North Carolina (NCAA Tournament Round of 16) - November 20, 2011
I'm not sure any UCF soccer player had a more impressive weekend then UCF goalie Aline Reis, who led UCF to the Elite 8 in 2011 by knocking off Florida in Gainesville on November 18th and then power North Carolina penalty kicks. Reis made two incredible saves in the shootout to send the Knights to Elite 8 for first time since 1987.
"Aline Reis absolutely had the best two games in college soccer that I have ever seen," said then-UCF current UCLA head coach Amanda Cromwell. "She made amazing saves against rival UF and then came up with two penalty kick saves against UNC to send us to the Elite 8."
Below is an interview I did with Aline Reis following UCF's win over North Carolina in 2011.
Stephanie Best vs. Army - March 19, 2003
As I wrote earlier, Best hit three home runs, which is still a UCF record, including an NCAA record two grand slams in one inning along with 11 RBIs. You can listen to my entire interview with Best on that game and her UCF career at FastpitchNews.com and in the most recent edition of our podcast .
Allison Kime at #1 Florida (NCAA Tournament Regional Final) - May 18, 2008
Allison Kime’s walk-off hit in the bottom of 8th scored Tiffany Lane to give UCF a 1-0 win to advance to the final game of the Gainesville Regional. The win ended #1 Florida’s 36-game overall and 41-game home winning streak. UCF was only team to beat Florida in Gainesville that season.
Kime pitched eight shutout innings to get the win against one of the best offenses in the sport. It concluded the best eight-day stretch I have ever seen any UCF athlete have, as Kime on May 10th out-dueled her long-time rival Angel Shamblin at #9 Houston, 4-2, to win the C-USA Championship.
Kime followed that up on May 16th with a dramatic two-out, two-strike, game-winning two-run triple as UCF defeated USF 3-2 in the opening game of the 2008 Gainesville Regional. Kime started all five games of the Gainesville Regional.
Mackenzie Audas vs. #3 Florida - April 11, 2012
I've never seen a freshman in any sport have a better year then Mackenzie Audas did in 2012. She carried a young UCF team into the NCAA Tournament, highlighted by the greatest performance I've ever seen at the UCF Softball Complex on April 11, 2012.
In front a statewide television audience on Bright House Sports Network and a sold-out crowd UCF Softball Complex which included Softball legends Dot Richardson and Angela Tincher, Audas dominated the Gators' offense, striking out 11 and giving up just two hits in a 2-0 victory.
We round out by with picking the single best performance in other sports.
Zykira Lewis' UCF Record 41 pts and eight threes vs. FAU on November 14, 2014
Emily Watts vs. Georgia State in the A-Sun Championship Game - November 22, 2003
Jenny Frank vs. Cincinnati in the NCAA Tournament - November 28, 2003.
Outside hitter Emily Watts had 29 kills, a .441 hitting percentage, 12 digs, and five blocks in just four sets as UCF defeated Georgia State to win its third straight Atlantic Sun Championship on November 22, 2003.
"Emily's presence on the court was dominating and consistent,"said UCF Volleyball Hall of Famer Jenny Frank about her former teammate Watts. "She was a go-to player in any situation and could carry us through a match until the end. She was one of the most dependable teammates we had."
Frank was inducted into the UCF Hall of Fame in 2011 and is regarded as one the greatest players to play at UCF. Frank's favorite match that she herself played in was when UCF knocked off Cincinnati in five sets in the opening round of the 2003 NCAA Tournament in Gainesville to get the elusive win that she had been looking for in the Knights' previous two appearances. But Frank would not have had her favorite match if it was not for Watts' performance in A-Sun Championship.
"I don't think UCF wins that third straight championship without Watts' performance," said Victor Anderson, who broadcasted UCF Volleyball from 2001-2005 and is currently the voice of Rollins Volleyball and Softball since 2011. "It's unfortunate injuries hampered her career, because in my opinion, if she stayed healthy, she would have done down as one of the greatest to wear the Black and Gold."
DeShorn Brown vs. Memphis - October 24, 2012
Deshorn Brown scored a hat trick, tied for most goals by UCF Men's Soccer player, and 7 points, which also is tied for program record. What's impressive is Brown did it all in the 2nd half, as he did not play in 1st half. Brown helped UCF to a dramatic comeback from down 3-1 in the 2nd half to knock off Memphis 4-3 in 2OT. Brown would go on to the MLS as he was selected 6th overall in the 2013 MLS Draft by Colorado Rapids. Here is a feature on Brown produced by UCF:
Track and Field
Aurieyall Scott - 2013 NCAA Championships
Aurieyall Scott became the first-ever UCF National Champion, as Scott won the 60-meter indoor race at the C-USA and NCAA Championships (in 7.13 seconds) in 2013. Scott was the C-USA Indoor Track Athlete of the year in 2013 and advanced to the 200-meter outdoor National Final at the US Olympic Trials.
Anne-Marie Blaney (NCAA South Regional) - November 11, 2016
"The Queen of The Distance" is what Anne-Marie Blaney is known as, described in a feature written by UCF Athletics' Megan Herboth on June 20, 2017. Blaney had many great performances in her career, which made it hard to pick one. But I went with her becoming the first Knight to win NCAA South Region title.
Greg Eason - 2013 NCAA Regional
Greg Eason won the 2013 NCAA Regional in Tempe while also helping UCF finish in a tie for 2nd in the team competition.
Ashley Holder - 2017 American Conference Championships
Senior Ashley Holder helped UCF win its second AAC Championship in three years, and won the American Individual Conference Championship at the same time with this clutch putt on the final hole of the tournament.
Korey Lovett - 2017 NCAA Tournament
Korey Lovett became the first ever UCF tennis player to make the NCAA Tournament in singles and advanced to the round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament with a win over Kentucky's Ryotaro Matsumars in three sets (7-6 in the third) to advance.
NOTE: Rowing is more of a true team sport, which is why it was not mentioned here.
Obviously, we plead guilty to recency bias a bit here. But what do you think? Did we miss any? Do you have any older performances we didn't mention that beat out what you see above? If so, leave a message in the comments (with video or photos, if you've got them), or hit us up on our Facebook page.