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Knight Cap: Baseball Nabs Midweek Win; Track and Field Wins Heptathlon

Plus: Tennis teams compete in their penultimate regular season matches.

Noah Goldberg

The past week of UCF Knights sports saw two teams finish up road trips, a long-standing school record broken, and three student-athletes receiving the university’s most prestigious student award. Plus, we name the Knight of the Week for your latest Knight Cap for Wednesday, April 13, 2022.


Baseball caps off road trip with midweek win

The UCF Baseball team ended its five-game road trip with a 6-1 victory over Jacksonville Tuesday night.

The Knights got out ahead early on thanks to a 2-RBI single by 1B Ben McCabe and an RBI single by 2B Tom Josten in the 3rd inning.

While Jacksonville was able to get a run of their own in the 6th inning due to a throwing error by UCF C Cole Russo, the Knights doubled their lead in the 9th inning with an RBI single by LF Lex Boedicker and a 2-RBI double by DH Andrew Sundean.

Both McCabe and Sundean’s hits, combining for 4 RBIs, extend the duo’s respective hitting streaks. McCabe has now gotten a hit in each of the last nine games while Sundean has gotten at least one hit in each of his last 10 starts.

Defensively, Cameron Crain received his first start of the season and turned it into his 1st win as a Knight. He pitched 4.0 innings, allowing no runs, one hit, and striking out two batters.

In relief, Ruddy Gomez, Zack Hunsicker, Ben Vespi, and Chase Centala combined to pitch the remaining 5.0 innings, allowing one run on three hits and striking out five batters.

Now 21-12 overall, the Knights return home to face East Carolina, with Game 1 beginning at 6 p.m. on Thursday. For more on East Carolina, check out the “What’s Next? Section of my recap of last weekend’s series against Memphis.


Track and Field Athletes Compete in 1st Outdoor Heptathlon

Two of the Four Knight heptathletes podiumed at the Hurricane Alumni Invitational last weekend.

Brittany Floyd took home the gold with a new personal best of 5,643 points thanks to finding the podium (or tie for a podium spot) in all seven individual events. This included taking 1st-place in all three heptathlon events on Day 2 of the meet.

Not to be outdone, Natalia Madison earned the bronze thanks to a new personal best point total of her own (5,148 points). She also took 1st-place in the Heptathlon’s High Jump event.

Madison’s performance also earned her a place in the UCF Track and Field record book by breaking the program’s freshman heptathlon record, beating out Holly Cassels’ 4,701-point performance almost exactly a year prior.

While Cassels may have had her freshman record broken, she and Kennedie Reese set new personal bests for themselves with 4,809 (5th) and 4,332 (9th) points respectively.

For the full results from the Hurricane Alumni Invitational Heptathlon, check out UCF Athletics’ Day 1 and Day 2 recaps or ptttiming.com.

The rest of the Knights Track and Field team will be back in action next weekend, returning to Gainesville for the Tom Jones Invitational from April 15-16.


Women’s Tennis triumphs in conference road trip

The No. 19-ranked UCF Women’s Tennis team is two-thirds of the way to going undefeated in conference play thanks to a pair of victories last weekend.

First, the team executed a comeback victory over No. 43-ranked SMU. Despite losing the doubles point, No. 91-ranked Evgeniya Levashova (0-6, 6-2, 6-0), No. 84-ranked Marie Mattel (3-6, 6-0, 6-0), Sophia Biolay (6-2, 5-7, 7-6), and Nandini Sharma (2-6, 6-4, 6-3) got the four singles-play victories necessary for the 4-3 victory.

The win served as the 100th of head coach Bryan Koniecko’s tenure as the Knights’ head coach.

The team got a quicker win a couple of days later with a sweep against No. 46-ranked Tulsa. Since the Knights took the doubles point this time, all it took was singles-play wins from Mattel, Sharma, and Jaleesa Leslie for the Knights to take a 4-0 win.

With her pair of singles-play victories this season, Sharma extends her winning streak to 10 consecutive matches, which is the 3rd longest streak in program history.

Meanwhile, Mattel’s pair of victories earned her the AAC’s Women’s Tennis Player of the Week honor.

Now ranked No. 18, 14-6 overall and 2-0 in conference play, the team will compete in its final match of the regular season against USF on Saturday at noon in Tampa.


Men’s Tennis splits weekend in conference play

The No. 49-ranked UCF Men’s Tennis team concluded its three-match conference-play road trip by splitting its two matchups against conference foes.

The weekend started with a 4-1 victory over No. 40-ranked Tulsa. While the Knights lost the doubles point, No. 77-ranked Trey Hilderbrand (6-1, 7-5), Bogdan Pavel (6-4, 6-3), Alan Rubio (6-4, 6-2), and JC Roddick (2-6, 7-5, 6-0) got the four wins in singles-play necessary to take the match.

However, the team would be less fortunate against No. 37-ranked Memphis.

While the No. 47-ranked doubles pair of Hilderbrand and Pavel triumphed over Memphis’ No. 23 ranked pair, David Stevenson and Jeremy Taylor (6-4), the Knights once again lost the doubles point.

While Rubio and Roddick were able to pick up wins for the Knights in singles play, Hilderbrand, Lleyton Cronje, and Quinn Snyder fell to their Tiger counterparts, giving Memphis the win, 4-2.

Now ranked No. 46, 8-13 overall and 2-2 in conference play, the team will attempt to get a winning conference record as they return to the USTA National Campus to host No. 40-ranked USF at 5 p.m. on Saturday for its final regular season match.


Three Knights Receive UCF’s Highest Student Honor

Three student-athletes received the Order of Pegasus, UCF’s most prestigious student award, in an induction ceremony last Wednesday.

Volleyball outside hitter McKenna Melville, Football long snapper Alex Ward, and Track and Field distance runner Cydni Turner were among the 26 students honored at the ceremony.

“I think it shows that you’re doing well on the court and then off the court as well,” Melville said. “I think academics is such a big part of athletics because your athletic career is going to end at some point and I like knowing that I have a good foundation in the academic side of things as well.”

Melville, Turner, and Ward’s names will be added to the Order of Pegasus wall in the Student Union, which displays the names of all those that have received the honor.


Knight of the Week:

Brittany Floyd, Track and Field

While Floyd did take 1st-place in three of the seven events of the Hurricane Alumni Invitational Heptathlon last weekend en route to getting the gold medal for the entire event, it is the wider implications of her achievement that get her this week’s honor.

Floyd’s 5,643-point total was not only the 7th-highest score in the country so far this season, but it also broke a program record that has stood for 19 years.

Before this weekend, the 5,233-point performance by Jamie Pew in 2003 stood as the program’s longest-standing outdoor record until this weekend. Floyd beat it by 410 points.

Floyd received the AAC’s Field Athlete of the Week honor as well.