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Knight Cap: Women’s Tennis upsets No. 9 Oklahoma State

Plus Outdoor Track and Field and Rowing seasons begin

The past week of UCF Knights sports saw two teams begin new seasons, another team pull off an upset, and the return of a duo that has not played together for some time. Plus, we name the Knight of the Week for your latest Knight Cap for Friday, March 25, 2022.


Women’s Tennis Upsets No. 9 Oklahoma State

The No. 28-ranked UCF Women’s Tennis team took the victory in all three of its matches last week.

It began with a 4-0 sweep of No. 69-ranked BYU on Thursday, a 4-1 win against No. 75-ranked Harvard the following day, and a 4-3 upset victory over No. 9 Oklahoma State.

The doubles duo of Evgeniya Levashova and Marie Mattel, after starting their season together 0-2, are now in the midst of a 5-0 winning streak, with their latest win coming against No. 38-ranked Oklahoma State duo Mhai Sawangkaew and Martina Zerulo (6-2).

Meanwhile, in singles play, Sophia Biolay rallied after being swept in the first set to win her match against Oklahoma State’s Alana Wolfberg, (0-6, 7-5, 7-6 (8-6)). Her win tied the dual match between the Knights and Cowboys, 3-3. The Knights’ win would be clinched by this week’s Knight the Week, so stay tuned.

Also shining in singles play this week is Nandini Sharma, who won her 6th consecutive singles-play match against Oklahoma State’s Sofia Rojas (6-0, 5-7, 6-4).

The team’s March homestand will also be reaching its end this weekend. Now ranked No. 18, the team will face off against Yale at 5 p.m. on Thursday followed by their final home match against No. 66-ranked Florida Atlantic at noon on Sunday.


Baseball falls to #7 FSU

The UCF Baseball team was defeated Tuesday night by No. 7-ranked Florida State, 10-2.

The game started scoreless through the first three innings thanks, in part, to the CF Gephry Pena making a leaping grab to rob a home run.

Despite this, the Seminoles eventually got on the board first with six runs in the 4th inning thanks to two RBI doubles, a home run, and a wild pitch.

The Knights countered this by scoring two runs of its own: an RBI single by 1B Ben Rushing that brought home 2B Noah Orlando in the 5th inning and a solo home run by Pena in the 6th.

However, Florida State would put the game out of reach in the 6th and 7th innings thanks to two bases-loaded walks, an RBI SAC Fly, and an RBI single.

Tuesday night’s game was supposed to be the first of two games played in Tallahassee, but it was announced earlier in the day that the second game, scheduled for Wednesday, would be canceled due to weather.

This means the team’s next game will see them back in Orlando for a three-game series against Samford. Games 1 and 2 will both be at 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday respectively and Game 3 starts at 1 p.m. on Sunday.


Men’s Tennis Splits weekend vs. ranked opponents

The No. 48-ranked UCF Men’s Tennis team split its weekend against two fellow ranked opponents this weekend.

On Friday, the team fell to No. 69-ranked Illinois, 4-3, but it would have better fortunes on Sunday against No. 67-ranked Florida Atlantic, which it beat 4-1. The weekend puts the team at 3-2 in their last five matches.

The doubles duo of Trey Hilderbrand and Bogdan Pavel, who went 10-2 last season, made its 2022 season debut two weeks ago against Stetson and has gone undefeated since. This weekend, the duo defeated No. 35-ranked Illinois duo Hunter Heck and Lucas Horve (6-1) and No. 41-ranked FAU duo Hunter Robbins and Carles Sarrio (6-1).

Meanwhile, senior Alan Rubio and freshman JC Roddick are both riding four-game winning streaks in singles play. Rubio picked up win No. 4 against Illinois’s Alex Brown (6-3, 6-3) while Roddick defeated Illinois’s Gabrielus Guzauskas (4-6, 6-3, 6-3) and FAU’s Gerard Escandell (6-1, 6-0) to get his fourth consecutive win.

The team will play its final home game of this March homestand against SMU at 5 p.m. on Friday, kicking off conference play. This will be followed by a 2 p.m. Sunday match on the road against Tulane.


Track and Field opens outdoor season with 1st home meet

The UCF Track and Field team opened its Outdoor season last weekend by hosting the Black and Gold Invitational.

While Katie Pinnell was the only Knight to get gold thanks to a 2:10.86 time in the 800-meter run, the team also captured 10 silver and bronze medals.

One of those 10 medals went to Valerie Lastra. Her 9:58.73 time in the 3,000-meter run not only got her the silver but also broke the program record in the event. She is now the first Knight in program history to ever run a sub-10-minute outdoor 3,000-meter run, a mark she was less than a second short of in her previous record (10:00.58), set just over a year ago.

Meanwhile, Ciara Holback earned AAC Track Athlete of the Week honors after capturing the silver in the 200-meter dash on Friday and then getting the bronze in the 100-meter dash the next day. Her 11.40-second time in the 100-meters was also a new personal best for her in the event.

For the full results of the Black and Gold Invitational, check out UCF Athletics’ Day One and Day Two recaps or the full results sheet from Half-Mile Timing.

The team will be back next week for their second and final home meet of the season, the Knights Invite. The meet will also mark the 2022 Outdoor debut of Rayniah Jones, according to a Twitter post from her on March 14. Jones is coming off a bronze in the 60-meter hurdles at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships.


Rowing sweeps season-opening regatta

The UCF Rowing team took home the win in all five races against UConn and Jacksonville in its opening regatta on Friday on Lake Pickett near Chuluota and Bithlo.

The Varsity Eight team finished over 17 seconds ahead of the runner-up, while the Varsity Four team took home the win by nearly 25 seconds.

For the full results from the regatta, check out UCF Athletics’ recap.

The team’s next regatta sees them traveling up to Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday to compete in the UVA Invite.


Knight of the Week

Marie Mattel, Women’s Tennis

The No. 100-ranked Marie Mattel has gone undefeated this weekend in both singles and doubles play.

This helped her get the AAC Player of the Week honor, but what puts her as this week’s Knight of the Week was that combined with her performance against No. 9 Oklahoma State. It’s already mentioned above that Mattel paired up with Levashova to beat the Cowboys’ No. 38-ranked doubles duo.

However, her singles match against No. 82-ranked Oona Orpana would end up being the deciding match after it was all tied up, 4-3.

The Frenchwoman came back from losing the first set in a tiebreaker, 6-7 (9-11), and took the next two sets, (7-5, 6-4), to clinch her third consecutive singles-play win and secure the upset for her team.