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KnightCap: #17 Women’s Soccer Beats Another P5 Foe, Volleyball Stops FSU

Plus: A historic day for UCF Athletics, but not for the reason you think

UCF Track and Soccer Complex (Image: Wikimedia Commons)
UCF Track and Soccer Complex (Image: Wikimedia Commons)
Image: Wikimedia Commons

The past week of UCF Knights sports saw one team continue their momentum after a statement victory, another team that won via an offensive onslaught, and in a week that saw UCF officially accept their invitation to the Big 12, even more UCF Athletics history was made. Plus, we name the Knight of the Week in your latest Knight Cap for Monday, September 13.

Women’s Soccer Shuts out Ole Miss

Before a weather delay caused its Sunday match with #2 North Carolina to be declared a no-contest, the #17-ranked UCF Women’s Soccer team shut out Ole Miss in Oxford, 3-0.

Redshirt junior goalkeeper Caroline DeLisle’s four saves helped keep the score deadlocked at 0-0 for the entire first half.

By the second half, the Knights were able to break through the Rebel defense. Shortly after the half began, in the 48th minute, junior forward Ellie Moreno scored the first goal of the match, with the assist from fellow junior forward Talia Gabarra. It was Moreno’s first goal of the season.

Later in the half, UCF would get two more insurance goals. Redshirt freshman defender Ariel Young scored her first-ever collegiate goal in the 73rd minute to put UCF up 2-0.

Then, shortly after, in the 78th minute, senior forward Mallory Olsson got an assist from fellow senior forward Kristen Scott to score the third Knights goal of the night that gave the game its 3-0 final score. It was Olsson’s second goal of the season.

Despite Ole Miss getting ten corner kicks and shooting the ball 17 times, seven of which were on goal, DeLisle would end the game with six total saves to keep the Rebel offense scoreless.

This week, the team travels to Houston on Thursday for an 8 p.m. match with the Cougars and then returns home to host Stetson for a 6 p.m. match on Sunday. Both games will be streamed live on ESPN+.

Volleyball Goes 2-1 in UCF Invitational

The UCF Volleyball team hosted Florida Gulf Coast, Florida State, and Georgia this week for the UCF Invitational, going 2-1 for the event, bringing its overall record to 4-5.

The team got off to a good start on Thursday with a 3-1 win over Florida Gulf Coast, handing the Eagles their first loss of the season. McKenna Melville led the team with 16 kills with Tali Marmen and Anne-Marie Watson close behind her with 14 and 11 kills, respectively. Marmen would also end her match with 12 digs, coming just short of sophomore libero Chloe Scheer’s 13 digs, which led the team.

Later that day, the Knights would win a thrilling five-set match with Florida State, 3-2.

UCF started by winning set one, 25-20, but fell behind after the Seminoles took set two, 25-21, and set three, 26-24. Pushed back against the wall, the Knights battled back to win Set four, 25-18, and set five, 15-13, to take the match.

Melville would lead the team in kills once again, with 27, but also in digs, with a new career-high 28.

The next day, the Knights got into another five-set match, this time with the Georgia Bulldogs, but this time it did not go UCF’s way.

Melville would lead the team in kills once again, with a career-high 30. Senior setter Amber Olson would lead the team in digs, with 12, followed by Scheer with 11.

This week, the team will be traveling to Boca Raton for the Sunshine Classic, its last event before conference play. On Thursday, the team faces off against Miami at 10 a.m., followed by a rematch with Florida Gulf Coast at 5 p.m. On Friday, the team finishes off the Classic with an 11 a.m. match with host Florida Atlantic.

Men’s Soccer’s Offensive Onslaught Defeats Florida Gulf Coast

The offense was the name of the game as the UCF Men’s Soccer team beat Florida Gulf Coast, 6-2, for its first win in September.

Fifth-year senior forward Alessandro Campoy already had a hat trick before halftime. He scored goals in the 5th and 27th minute, both assisted by fifth-year senior midfielder Nick Taylor, and in the 43rd minute with assists from freshman midfielder Kevin Andrews and junior forward Gino Vivi. He would even score one more goal in the second half (61st minute) for good measure, with an assist from senior midfielder Mauricio Villalobos Vega.

Not to be left out, sophomore forward Lucca Dourado scored a pair of goals of his own. He scored in the 36th minute with an assist from Andrews and in the 55th minute, unassisted.

Both teams would, in one way or another, face a setback defensively.

For Florida Gulf Coast, it was their defending around the entire pitch. UCF would finish the match with 18 shots, 13 of them on goal. Eagles graduate student goalkeeper Gustavo Vasconcelos did what he could. He finished his match with seven saves in 66:41 of play, six in the first half alone, but Campoy and Dourado were able to get through.

As for the Knights, their defensive trouble came from goalkeeping. The UCF defense on the pitch limited the Eagles offense to seven shots, two of which were on goal, but both landed in the net.

Redshirt junior goalkeeper Matt Douglass finished his match with no saves but allowed two goals. These were the 9th and 10th goals he’s allowed in the five matches so far this season. For comparison, Yannik Oettl allowed ten goals in all 12 matches the Knights played this spring for the postponed 2020 season.

The Knights will need to address this goalkeeping issue before they travel to Memphis to open conference play on Saturday for a 9 p.m. match.

Cross Country finishes second in Gainesville

The UCF Cross Country team finished 2nd as a team at the Mountain Dew Invitational in Gainesville, with an average time of 14:41 and 71 points in the 4K.

The team’s combined efforts only fell short of host Florida, who finished with a 14:09 average time and 24 points.

With back-to-back runner-up team finishes to open the season, the team debuted in the USTFCCCA’s regional rankings for the first time since September 2016, per UCF Athletics. The Knights slot in at #13 in the South Region.

Individually, freshman Valerie Lastra led the Knights in her season debut with a 5th place finish with a 14:19.4 time.

Three other runners joined Lastra in the Top 20: freshman Kambry Smith (14:33.2, 11th), junior Charlotte Crook (14:39.5, 15th), and freshman Ali Del Rio (14:52.6, 19th).

This was the team’s last meet in September. For the Knights’ next competition, they will get to be the hosts. The UCF Invite will be held at the UCF Softball Complex on Oct. 1 at 6:45 p.m.

Men’s Tennis Opens Fall Season

The UCF Men’s Tennis team opened its fall schedule at the three-day Gator Fall Invite in Gainesville, Florida.

On Day One, the team faced off against host Florida. Junior Trey Hilderbrand earned a win over No. 86-ranked sophomore Ben Shelton, 2-1, No. 88-ranked senior Kento Yamada lost a close match with No. 33-ranked junior Blaise Bicknell, 2-1, and junior Bogdan Pavel forced a third set against freshman Abedallah Shelbayh, but ultimately fell, 2-1.

In doubles action, No. 3-ranked Pavel and Hilderbrand lost their first doubles match of the fall to No. 57-ranked duo Shelbayh and graduate student Mattias Siimar, 8-4.

On Day Two, all the team’s matches were against South Carolina. Freshman JC Roddick, the nephew of head coach John Roddick, won his first career collegiate match, 2-0, against junior Jake Beasley. Redshirt freshman Quinn Snyder also won his first collegiate match, 2-0, against sophomore Carter Morgan.

As for Hilderbrand, he almost upset No. 3-ranked junior Daniel Rodrigues in his singles match, taking him to a 6-7 (6) third set, but would ultimately fall, 2-1. As for his doubles match with Pavel, the duo would fall to Beasley and sophomore Connor Thomson, 8-5.

For Day Three, the team would face off against NC State. Roddick and Snyder picked up their second wins of the weekend, both 2-0, against freshman Damien Salvestre and senior Yannau Barkai respectively. Freshman Cooper White won his first collegiate match, 2-0, against graduate student Collin Shick, while Pavel took junior Martin Rocens to three sets, but lost 2-1.

Meanwhile, in doubles action, Yamada and redshirt junior Bryan Triana kept it close with Rocens and Shick, but would ultimately fall, 8-6.

The team will look to rebound next month at the ITA All-Americans in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which begin on Oct. 2 and last until Oct. 10.

Knights of the Week:

So, this week, we have not one, not two, but three Knights of the Week to honor. All three of these student-athletes reached historical marks in one way or another.

Alessandro Campoy, Men’s Soccer

Campoy led the Men’s Soccer team with four goals in its 6-2 victory over Florida Gulf Coast. That mark makes Campoy the 1st NCAA Division I player this season to score four goals in a single match and only the 2nd UCF player since it joined Division I in 1984 to score four goals or more in a single match. The other? 2004 UCF Athletics Hall of Fame Inductee Heikki Ritvanen.

Ritvanen played for UCF from 1996-1999. Until Saturday, he was the only UCF Men’s Soccer player in history to score exactly four goals in a single match. He did so twice, against Western Illinois in 1996 and Thomas College in 1997.

Ritvanen also scored five goals against Buffalo in 1996 and against Belmont and Coastal Carolina in 1998.

Two other UCF Men’s Soccer players scored five goals in a single match before the 1984 move to Division I. Randy DeShield did it twice, against Biscayne in 1978 and Stetson in 1979, and Rory Francois achieved the feat in a 1983 match against Eckerd.

Now, Campoy joins this UCF Men’s Soccer pantheon.

Note: The last time any UCF Knight scored four or more goals in a single match was when Ritvanen did it in 1998. Remember that year for a moment.

Valerie Lastra, Cross Country:

Lastra finished her season debut 4K Run at the Mountain Dew Invitational on Saturday in 5th place with a 14:19.4 time.

That time broke the school record in the 4K Run, a record that has stood since 1998. It was Anne Panaggio that held the 23-year old record with a 14:28 time.

To put this in perspective, Lastra, who already owns the freshman record in the 6K and 5K runs, broke the Cross Country program’s longest-standing record by just under nine seconds.

Have I mentioned she’s a freshman?

McKenna Melville, Volleyball

Melville broke a record of a different variety on Saturday.

That day, the Volleyball team lost, 3-2, against the Georgia Bulldogs with Melville leading the team with 30 kills. The entire team finished the match with a total of 58 kills. Melville accounted for more than half of the team’s total kills that day.

Those 30 kills also gave Melville a new career-high, breaking a mark that lasted… less than a day.

On Friday evening, Melville made 27 kills to tie her career-high en route to the team’s 3-2 victory against Florida State. She also set a new career-high in digs in this match, with 28.

So, to recap, in less than 24 hours, Melville set a career-high in digs, tied her career-high in kills, and then set a new career-high in kills.

One of these two career matches for Melville might not have ended in a win, but it has proven just how impactful a player she is for this team.