We need to have a debate soon about whether the 2018-2019 athletics year is the best in UCF history
For one data point, look at all of the programs that qualified for the NCAA Tournament. This doesn’t include football, obviously, and this list could grow in the coming weeks (here’s looking at you, rowing and a surging baseball team). As of right now, the group includes men’s and women’s basketball, men’s soccer, women’s golf, men’s tennis, volleyball.
But let’s talk about the women’s tennis team. Otherwise known as the team that has advanced further in the tourney than any other UCF team thus far.
Coach Bryan Koniecko’s squad has been an irresistible force in postseason play. They opened their NCAA Tournament by blanking Alabama, 4-0, in a victory that was satisfying for obvious reasons.
Then 23rd-ranked UCF got past the No. 11 national seed Florida State in Tallahassee, 4-1. They were happy, to say the least.
So, at 4 p.m. Eastern on Friday, UCF will meet another nationally seeded team on their home courts as they face the No. 6 Pepperdine Waves in Malibu, Calif., atop the cliffs alongside the Pacific Ocean. The Knights will be making their first-ever Sweet Sixteen appearance, but don’t think this team will be at all intimidated.
They have dropped just one match point in its past five match days, which included a shutout sweep through the AAC Tournament last month. They have 24 wins, the most in program history. They have lost once since late January, rolled over the Tide and avenged one of their three losses this season in their triumph over the Seminoles.
And there’s a pretty big carrot dangling in front of the Knights if they can beat Pepperdine: By moving into the Elite Eight, UCF would get to play its next match at home. That’s because the UCF Collegiate Tennis Center in Lake Nona will host the final three rounds of the tournament.
Win or lose, the UCF women’s tennis team has already made history this season. But maybe more history will be made today. Just in case, you should tune in to see if the Knights can survive and advance again.