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Knight Cap: Baseball falls to #6 Miami, Women’s Golf and Tennis Seasons End

Plus: Softball brings home AAC regular-season awards

Courtesy of UCF Athletics

The past week of UCF Knights sports consisted of two teams seeing their NCAA tournament runs, and seasons, come to a close and another team has its 3rd consecutive loss.

Plus, we name the Knight of the Week for your latest Knight Cap for Thursday, May 12, 2022.


Baseball falls short of #6 Miami (FL)

The UCF Baseball team sustained its third consecutive loss Wednesday in a midweek matchup against No. 6-ranked Miami (FL), 16-10.

Every UCF (28-20, 11-7 AAC) starter in the batting order got at least one hit for the game, including home runs from RF Tom Josten in the 7th inning and C/1B Cole Russo in the 8th inning, the first of his collegiate career.

However, despite the Knights’ 3-0 start midway through the 1st inning, the Hurricanes plated more runs off of starter William Saxton in the bottom half of the inning, going up 5-3. It would be Saxton’s only inning of the game, though he would ultimately be credited with the loss.

After a tone-setting 1st inning, the game became a continuous one of catchup for the UCF offense, not helped by the fact that inconsistent pitching allowed Miami to keep them at arm’s length. Of the eight Knights pitchers used during the game, half of them allowed 15 of the Hurricane’s 16 runs.

The team will not have long to regroup from the loss, since it travels to Houston this weekend for a weekend series against the Cougars, who sit one game ahead in the AAC standings.

Game 1 and Game 2 are both slated for 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday respectively, while Game 3 is set for 1 p.m. on Sunday.


Women’s Tennis Tournament Run Ends in 2nd round

The UCF Women’s Tennis team made it to the 2nd round of the NCAA Tournament before their run was brought to an end by No. 9-seed Miami (FL) last weekend, 4-1.

The Knights were able to take the doubles point thanks to wins from Nandini Sharma and Sophia Biolay over Hurricanes No. 76-ranked pair Tatyana Nikolenko and Maya Tahan, 6-2, and Jaleesa Leslie and Noel Saidenova against the Hurricanes’ Audrey Boch-Collins and Isabella Pfennig in a tiebreaker, 7-6 (7-3).

However, Miami rallied in singles play, with Evgeniya Levashova, Saidenova, Biolay, and Sharma all taking losses. This gave the Hurricane the win and concluded the season for the Knights as a team.

The weekend started, however, with the Knights sweeping Alabama, 4-0, just as they did in 2019.

No. 48-ranked doubles pair Levashova and Marie Mattel took down No. 52-ranked pair Anna Parkhomenko and Petra Sedlackova, 6-4, and Biolay and Sharma took down Loudmilla Bencheikh and Anne Marie Hiser in a tiebreaker, 7-6 (7-2), to give UCF the doubles point.

Later, in singles play, Sharma, Biolay, and Leslie picked up victories to secure the sweep.

While the Knights’ run in the NCAA team tournament is over, there is one last thing left for the Women’s Tennis program this season.

Mattel is slated to compete in the NCAA Women’s Tennis Singles Championship as the automatic qualifier for the AAC. The tournament is slated for May 23-28.


Women’s Golf’s season concludes at Ann Arbor Regional

The UCF Women’s Golf team’s season came to an end this week after it could not advance out of the NCAA Ann Arbor Regional.

As a team, the Knights came in 11th place at 909 (+57). They finished 29 strokes behind 4th-place Michigan, the last team to advance to NCAA Championship, and 47 strokes behind 1st-place San Jose State.

Individually, it was AAC Freshman of the Year Zoe Allaux leading the way for the team, finishing alone in 18th place at 221 (+8). She finished eight strokes behind the last advancing individual player (Old Dominion’s Jana Melichova), and 14 strokes behind the individual winner (San Jose State’s Natasha Andrea Oon).

As for AAC Player of the Year Tunrada Piddon, she finished the regional at 225 (+12) in a tie for 29th. However, that performance was enough to break her own record for the lowest single-season scoring average in program history (71.71) by 0.19 strokes.

For more about the rest of the team’s performance in Ann Arbor, check out UCF Athletics’ recap or golfstat.com.


Conference Awards Galore for Softball

Numerous members of the UCF Softball team were honored by the American Athletic Conference this week in the conference’s regular-season awards.

The Knights coaching staff, headed by head coach Cindy Ball-Malone, were unanimously selected as the Coaching Staff of the Year.

2B Justene Molina was selected as the Defensive Player of the Year.

SS Micaela Macario was selected as conference Rookie of the Year.

Jada Cody and Kennedy Searcy were unanimously selected to the All-Conference 1st team as a C and 3B respectively, alongside Molina, OF Denali Scappaccher, and pitcher Gianna Mancha.

Macario, pitcher Kama Woodall, and DP/C Ashleigh Griffin were selected to the All-Conference 2nd Team.

Griffin and Macario were also unanimously selected to the All-Conference Rookie Team.

The Knights begin competition in Greenville, South Carolina for the AAC Conference Tournament against No. 4 seed Houston at 9 a.m. on Friday.


Player of the Week:

Nandini Sharma, Women’s Tennis

While Sharma’s singles-play winning streak came to an end last weekend in a loss to Miami (FL)’s Audrey Boch-Collins (6-4, 6-1), her victory the previous day was enough to move up another spot in the record books.

Sharma’s victory in the Knights’ 1st round matchup against Alabama’s Anne Marie Hiser (6-2, 4-6, 6-2) brought her streak to 13 matches, tying Valeriya Zeleva for the 2nd-longest singles-play winning streak in program history.

This, combined with her undefeated weekend in doubles play with partner Sophia Biolay, made her a great fit for this week’s honor.