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Knight Cap: Women’s Soccer heads to NCAAs, Men’s Soccer season ends

Plus: History made as Volleyball defeats two more AAC opponents

#6 Anna Henderson celebrates her goal in the AAC Semifinal match against Memphis.
Noah Goldberg

This past weekend of UCF Knights sports saw two teams’ fall seasons come to a close, another team falling shy in the conference tournament, and another team continuing its new conference-play winning streak.

Plus, we name the Knight of the Week and the Knights Play of the Week in your latest Knight Cap for Wednesday, November 9th, 2022.

Women’s Soccer selected to NCAA Tournament Despite AAC Semifinal Loss

Despite their quest for an American Athletic Conference Tournament crown being cut short on Thursday night thanks to Memphis, the UCF Women’s Soccer team will still return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2017.

While the Knights did lose to Memphis in penalty kicks, the match counted as a draw for purposes of the team’s record, putting the Knights at 9-2-5 overall. This meant UCF remained steady at No. 22 in the RPI Rankings and remained in the Top 25 of Top Drawer Soccer’s rankings at the No. 24 spot. Such a resume was enough to earn the team an at-large bid for the NCAA Tournament.

The Knights will hit the road for their first-round match as a No. 9-seed to take on No. 8-seed NC State at noon on Sunday.

As for the events of Thursday night, Memphis was the only AAC team that the Knights did not beat in the regular season, with their Sept. 15 tilt ending in a scoreless draw.

Things started off well for UCF. Before the halftime break, forward Anna Henderson got them on the board with a goal in the 35th minute, with an assist from fellow forward Kristen Scott.

However, Memphis was able to tie it up with a goal of its own in the 62nd minute. Though it was originally called a no-goal by the officials, the call was reversed shortly after.

The match remained deadlocked for the rest of regulation, including through both overtime periods, which brought on penalty kicks. Memphis ended up getting the edge, 6-5, earning themselves a berth in the AAC Tournament Championship match, which they would go on to win against SMU, 1-0.

Men’s Soccer loses War on I-4 Battle, season over

The UCF Men’s Soccer team’s season came to an end on Wednesday after a 2-1 loss to USF shut down its chances at a berth in the American Athletic Conference Tournament.

It is the first time the Knights will miss a conference tournament since 2009. It is also the first season the program has finished the season with a losing record since 2016, making 2022 the first losing season of head coach Scott Calabrese’s tenure.

While there was no scoring to be had in the first half, the Bulls got out ahead with both of their goals in the 60th and 70th minutes.

Forward Lucas Mauro got the Knights’ lone goal of the match thanks to a penalty kick in the 85th minute.

The Knights will begin a new chapter in their program’s history next season as they join the Sun Belt Conference (The Big 12 does not sponsor Men’s Soccer).

Volleyball Gets Two More AAC Wins

The UCF Volleyball team picked up two more wins in conference play this weekend with a 3-1 win on Friday over SMU and a 3-0 sweep of Memphis on Sunday.

Outside Hitter McKenna Melville hit a season-high 29 kills against the Mustangs. During the Memphis match, her 13 kills were enough to get her past 2400 for her career and 15th place on the NCAA all-time kills list.

While Melville led the team in kills on the weekend, fellow outside hitter Heidi Bonde extends her double-digit kills streak to five matches. She hit a combined 28 kills on the weekend.

The wins, along with a Kansas State upset of Iowa State and a Miami (FL) upset of Georgia Tech, elevated the Knights to No. 14 in the RPI Rankings. This puts the Knights in the mix to host a regional for the first time since 2018.

The team also remains steady at No. 24 in the AVCA Top 25 Coaches Poll.

The team now sits at 21-1 (13-1 AAC) as it prepares for its second matchup of the season against USF in the War on I-4. The team travels to Tampa on Wednesday at 7 p.m. to take on the Bulls, followed by hosting Cincinnati at 1 p.m. on Sunday.

Men’s Tennis Wraps Fall Schedule in Gainesville

The UCF Men’s Tennis team wrapped up its fall schedule this weekend in Gainesville at the University of Florida Invitational.

In Singles Play:

  • Both redshirt sophomore Quinn Snyder and senior Lleyton Cronje initially lost their first-round matches but proceeded to win their next three to become the Back Draw Champion of their respective draws.
  • True freshman Emilio Sanchez went 2-2 on the weekend.
  • Senior Bogdan Pavel and true freshman Luca Hotze went 1-3 on the weekend.

In Doubles Play:

  • Cronje and Pavel went a perfect 3-0 to become the champions of their draw. They finished with an 8-4 victory over a pair from Florida.
  • Snyder and Hotze went 1-2 on the weekend.
  • Sanchez teamed up with Illinois’s Kenta Miyoshi for the tournament. The duo went 1-1 on the weekend.

The team will kick off dual-match play in 2023 with ITA Kickoff Weekend in Columbus, Ohio. The Knights will face the host, Ohio State, on Jan. 28, 2023, followed by a match against Tulsa or Oregon the next day.

Knight of the Week

Todd Dagenais, Volleyball

Aside from Spirit Team head coach Linda Gooch, Volleyball head coach Todd Dagenais is the longest-serving head coach in all of UCF Athletics, starting his time with the Knights in 2008.

On Friday against SMU, Dagenais picked up his 300th win in his UCF tenure.

Once the weekend was all said and done, he elevated his overall record to 301-158.

Play of the Week

Goalkeeper Caroline DeLisle keeps the UCF Women’s Soccer team alive by blocking a penalty kick