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Knight Cap: Rayniah Jones makes 2022 Outdoor debut, Baseball defeats FAU

Plus: Both Tennis teams finish their March home stands.

The past week of UCF Knights sports saw two teams having their Senior Knights, another team making their first road trip of the season, and another team rebounding after a weekend of soul searching. Plus, we name the Knight of the Week for your latest Knight Cap for Friday, April 1, 2022.


Baseball shellacks FAU

The UCF Baseball team defeated Florida Atlantic on Tuesday night, 13-1, to get its first back-to-back wins since March 8-9.

The Knights offense got out ahead early thanks to a nine-run 2nd inning. One-third of those runs came courtesy of SS Alex Freeland’s three-run double.

Also contributing offensively was 1B Ben McCabe, who was also making his 1st fielding start of the season. McCabe has been serving as the team’s DH. However, he was out of the lineup for Games 2 and 3 of the Samford series after a slow start in the batter’s box, hitting .228.

However, thanks to a 3-4, 4 RBI performance against the Owls, McCabe has increased his average to .253. He said that he was trying to be “on time” with his swings since he noticed that his struggles in the batter’s box in previous games came when he was not “on time.”

Head coach Greg Lovelady said the team did a good job letting the game come to them on Tuesday night and that it gives the team confidence going into the first weekend of conference play, now 15-10 overall.

The Knights’ first foray into conference play is a rematch of the 2021 AAC Conference Tournament Championship Game as USF comes to town. Connor Staine is slated to take the mound to start Game 1 for the Knights at 6 p.m. on Friday.

Game 2 begins 24 hours later, at 6 p.m. on Saturday. Game 3 closes out the series at 1 p.m. on Sunday. All games will be streamed on ESPN+.


Track and Field hosts Knights Invite; Rayniah Jones makes 2022 Outdoor Debut

The UCF Track and Field Team hosted its second, and final, home meet of the season last weekend in the Knights Invite.

The meet marked the 2022 outdoor season debut for Rayniah Jones, who took the gold in both events she competed in. Her 13.08-second 100-meter hurdles time sits as the 11th-fastest in the country so far this season. Meanwhile, Jones’ 11.34-second 100-meter dash time came 0.05-seconds off of her personal best in the event.

Jones said after the meet that one of her goals for the season was to become a better sprinter.

Jones was not the only one to bring home gold last weekend. Beyonce Defreitas was part of the 4X100-meter relay team that took gold, and she also got one for herself in the 200-meter dash.

The Knights also came away with nine silver and bronze medals. Two of these came in the 100-meter dash, where I’Asia Wilson and Danielle Bess joined Jones for a UCF sweep of the podium.

For the full results of the Knights Invite, check out UCF Athletics’ Day 1 and Day 2 recaps.

Next up for the team is a road trip to Gainesville for the Pepsi Florida Relays on April 1-2, where Jones said she will make her first run of this outdoor season in the 200-meter dash. The meet will be streamed live on SEC Network+.


Women’s Tennis extends winning streak, closes homestand

The No. 18-ranked UCF Women’s Tennis team closes out its final weekend of matches at the USTA National Campus with wins over Yale and No. 66-ranked Florida Atlantic.

The team was led by Nandini Sharma, who went undefeated in these two matches in both singles play, where she now has eight consecutive victories and doubles play, where she was paired with Sophia Biolay. Her efforts earned her the AAC’s Player of the Week honor.

Like Sharma, Jaleesa Leslie also went undefeated in singles play this weekend. However, she did split her doubles matches, paired with Noel Saidenova, going 1-1 for the weekend.

The match with Florida Atlantic marked the final regular-season match at the USTA National Campus for the team’s lone senior, Evgeniya Levashova. Her lone victory, since her other matches were called off due to the Knights clinching the win already, came in a doubles match against Yale. She and Marie Mattel, the No. 28-ranked pair in the country, defeated Yale’s Chelsea Kung and Jessie Gong, 6-4.

Still ranked No. 18, the Knights will receive close to two weeks’ rest before they hit the road to begin conference play. First, they will face No. 38 SMU at 6 p.m. on Friday, April 8. A couple of days later, the team will face off with No. 48 Tulsa at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, April, 10.


Men’s Tennis falls in conference-play opener

It came down to the last match, but the No. 57-ranked UCF Men’s Tennis team fell to No. 38-ranked SMU, 4-3, Friday to begin conference play.

The evening match began with the Mustangs taking the doubles point, winning two of the three matches. The lone Knights doubles victory came from No. 35-ranked pairing Trey Hilderbrand and Bogdan Pavel getting a 6-2 win over SMU’s No. 76-ranked duo Adam Neff and Ivan Thamma.

As for singles play, Alan Rubio got a victory over SMU’s Caleb Chakravarthi, (6-3, 3-6, 6-1), to extend his singles-play winning streak to five matches, the longest on the team.

While No. 78-ranked Hilderbrand and Lleyton Cronje also picked up second consecutive victories, they were not enough to take the overall match.

The deciding point came when JC Roddick fell to Thamma, (7-5, 6-7 (5-7), 1-6), giving the win to the Mustangs.

Now at 6-12 for the season, but ranked No. 54, the team will hit the road looking for a rebound on Sunday at 2 p.m. against No. 58-ranked Tulane.


Rowing splits opponents at UVA Invite

The UCF Rowing team traveled to Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend for the UVA Invite.

In its morning races, the team went 4-1 against North Carolina, including a nearly 20-second victory for the Second Varsity Eight Squad.

However, the team was swept, 0-5, by host No. 6-ranked Virginia.

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

The team has a shorter road trip this weekend to Sarasota on April 1-2 for the Sunshine State Invite.


Men’s Golf competes in Ponte Vedra

The UCF Men’s Golf team had two players place in the Top 30 at the John Hayt Collegiate in Ponte Vedra Beach.

Johnny Travale led the team, finishing in a tie for 13th at 218 strokes (+2). He was followed by Egor Eroshenko who finished in a tie for 30th at 221 strokes (+5).

As a team, the Knights came in 10th place with a combined score of 892 strokes (+28).

For the full results of the John Hayt Collegiate, check out golfstat.com.

The team will not have long to rest since they head to Augusta, Georgia this weekend, April 2-3, for their final tournament before the AAC Conference Championship, the Augusta Haskins Award Invitational.


Knight of the Week

Adrienne Adams, Track and Field

Sophomore Adrienne Adams started the Knights Invite off with a bang by winning the gold in the Discus Throw with a 53.69-meter (176 ft. 2 in.) best throw. It ranks as the 14th-longest throw in the country so far this season.

However, her winning throw also broke a school record that has stood for over a decade. It was on May 16th, 2010 when LaKendra Thomas set the mark to beat in the Discus Throw at 53.14-meters.

The Jamaica native called the feat “extremely amazing” and was awarded the AAC Field Athlete of the Week honor.