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Knight Cap: Men’s Soccer and Volleyball Bounce Back

Plus: Women’s Soccer paves the way for AAC regular season title.

Gino Vivi attacks shoots and scores against #13 Charlotte.
Noah Goldberg

This past weekend of UCF Knights sports saw one team reenter its Top 25 poll, another team stays alive in the AAC tournament hunt, and another set the stage for clinching the AAC regular-season title.

Plus, we name the Knight of the Weekend and the Knights Play of the Weekend in your latest Knight Cap for Wednesday, October 26th, 2022.

Men’s Soccer stuns No. 13 Charlotte

The UCF Men’s Soccer team stays alive in the new rat race that is the American Athletic Conference after upsetting No. 13-ranked Charlotte, 2-1.

By defeating the 49ers, the Knights keep themselves alive in their hunt to appear in the six-team American Athletic Conference tournament. As of this writing, UCF would occupy the No. 6 seed in the conference tournament if the regular season ended today.

SMU currently leads the conference with 15 points, followed by a three-way tie of Tulsa, FIU, and Memphis in 2nd place with 13 points. USF sits in 3rd place with 12 points, followed by UCF at 9 points.

The Knights leapfrogged Charlotte, who now sits on the outside looking in of the conference tournament with 8 points, thanks to their victory Friday night.

Forward Gino Vivi got the opening goal early on in the 12th minute, with an assist from fellow forward Lucas Mauro.

Charlotte would go on to score an equalizing goal in the 72nd minute. However, UCF soon responded with the match-deciding go-ahead goal two minutes later.

Forward Lucca Dourado was the one to send the ball through the net with assists from Vivi and Mauro. It was Dourado’s 11th of the season, but the first to be a game-winning one.

The goal propelled Dourado to 28 for his career, elevating him into a tie for 8th in the program’s all-time goal-scoring list with Nik Robson (2009-2011). It also put him at 59 points for his career, only two away from the Top 10 all-time in program history.

Dourado will continue to climb the program’s career stat rankings as the Knights hit the road to take on Tulsa at 7 p.m. on Friday, followed by a return home next Wednesday, Nov. 2, at 7 p.m. for their final regular-season match against USF.

Volleyball reenters Top 25 after two AAC sweeps

The UCF Volleyball team was part of American Athletic Conference history after sweeping USF and Cincinnati last week.

The Knights joined Houston in the AVCA Top 25 Coaches Poll at the No. 25 spot. This makes it the first time that two AAC teams have been ranked in the poll. The team is ranked 19th in the RPI Rankings.

Statistically, things were a bit different for the Knights as outside hitter McKenna Melville had some of her lowest attack percentages of the season and was held to only single-digit kills for the first time all season.

Middle Blocker Claudia Dillon set a new season-high for herself after she led the team with 11 kills against USF. Outside hitter Heidi Bonde did the same, notching a season-high 12 kills against Cincinnati.

Additionally, setter Amber Olson achieved a career milestone last week as she got her 1,000th career dig against USF. She is the 14th player in program history to achieve the feat, which includes her teammate, Melville.

Now 17-1 (9-1 AAC), the Knights have a longer time between matches before they hit the road this weekend. First, they play Tulsa at 5 p.m. on Friday. Then, on Sunday at 2 p.m. the team makes a return to Wichita State. It will be the team’s 3rd time playing in Charles Koch Arena after the team had to relocate its previous matches between Tulsa and Wichita State there due to Hurricane Ian.

Women’s Soccer debuts Space Game Unis, sets stage for AAC regular season title

Before clinching the AAC regular-season title against Houston, the UCF Knights Women’s Soccer team debuted its brand new space game uniforms as it defeated East Carolina on Thursday, 1-0.

The match’s only goal came quite early on. In the 5th minute, defender Olivia Lewis sailed the ball into the back of the net for the first goal of her career. She was assisted by forward Kristen Scott.

The Knights outshot the Pirates, 14-4, and dominated in shots on goal (7-1). Goalkeeper Caroline DeLisle only needed to make one save for the match.

For the team’s efforts this week against ECU and Houston, the team has elevated itself to 22nd in the United Soccer Coaches poll, 26th in the RPI rankings, and 24th in Top Drawer Soccer’s rankings.

Scott and Lewis were also named the conference’s Offensive and Defensive Players of the Week.

With the conference regular season title now in hand, the Knights (8-2-4, 6-0-1 AAC) have one more regular season match remaining. The team travels down I-4 to play the Bulls at 7 p.m. on Thursday.

Men’s Golf hosts Isleworth Collegiate

The UCF Men’s Golf team closed out its fall schedule in Windermere this week as the host of the Isleworth Collegiate.

Fifth-year senior Luis Carrera led the way for the Knights, finishing in 11th place individually with a 213 (-3).

As for UCF as a team, it finished in the middle of the pack, taking home 9th place with an 880 (+16). The Knights finished 43 strokes behind the winner, No. 3-ranked Auburn.

For more on the rest of the team’s individual performances at the Isleworth Collegiate, check out the results on

The team will return to action on Feb. 5-6, 2023 when it travels to Ponte Vedra Beach for the John Hayt Collegiate.

Men’s Tennis competes in Tallahassee

The UCF Men’s Tennis team took the court for the ITA Southeast Regional Championships this week.

In singles play:

  • Redshirt sophomore Quinn Snyder went 1-1, getting defeated in the 2nd round of the qualifying draw.
  • True freshmen Luca Hotze and Emilio Sanchez both went 0-2, falling in the qualifying draw 1st round and their first respective consolation matches.
  • True freshman Mehdi Benchakroun, senior Bogdan Pavel, and sophomore Cooper White all went 1-1, winning their 1st round matches in the main draw before being defeated in the 2nd round.

In doubles play:

  • Sanchez and White teamed up to go 1-1, defeating a North Florida in the 1st round (8-7 (7-1)), before falling to the No. 1 seed dup from Georgia in the 2nd round (4-8).
  • Snyder and Hotze lost in their first-round matchup with a pairing from Georgia Southern (7-8 (6-8)).
  • Benchakroun and Pavel received a 1st round bye but lost in the second round via a walkover due to injury.

For more information on the team’s performance in the tournament, check out the ITA’s website where the full tournament draws can be found.

The Knights are slated to close out its fall schedule with the University of Florida Invitational on Nov. 4-6 and, should someone qualify, the ITA Fall National Championships in San Diego, California on Nov. 4-7.

Last week, a pair of UCF Women’s Tennis players competed in the International Tennis Federation’s W25 Tournament in Fort Worth, Texas.

Both true freshman Jantje Tillbuerger and sophomore Noel Saidenova won their first two matches to advance out of the qualifying draw. However, both women fell in their 1st-round match in the main draw, each going 2-1 for the tournament.

The duo is slated to compete on the professional circuit again in a couple of weeks at the ITF’s W15 tournament in Champaign, Illinois, from Nov. 7-13.

However, before that, the Knights have their final collegiate event of the fall schedule, the North Florida-hosted Jacksonville Classic from Oct. 28-30.

Knight of the Week

Gino Vivi, Men’s Soccer

Forward Gino Vivi was involved with both goals that lifted the UCF Men’s Soccer team to victory over No. 13-ranked Charlotte on Saturday. He was named the AAC’s Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts. However, in the process, he has continued his march into the halls of UCF Men’s Soccer history.

His assist in the match’s deciding goal was his 5th of the season and the 23rd of his career. This puts him in a tie for the 5th-most career assists in program history with Rony Francois (1980-1983). For perspective, no UCF Men’s Soccer player has gotten more than 21 assists in their career since the turn of the century.

Additionally, Vivi’s assist and goal against Charlotte increased his career point total to 61, tying him with Rami Vehmas (1996-1999) for the 10th-most in program history. He is the 4th UCF Men’s Soccer player to reach the mark since the turn of the century (Nik Robson, Matias Pyysalo, and Cal Jennings).

Play of the Week

Defender Olivia Lewis’ moonshot first career goal