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Knight Cap: #2 Men’s Soccer Marks Return Home with Another SBC Win

Plus: Women’s Golf wins team title in 2nd fall tournament

Brenna Johnson

This past week of UCF Knights sports saw one team build conference play momentum, one team lose conference play momentum and another team maintain an unblemished conference record.

We recap all of that action, plus we give you our Knight of the Week and Play of the Week in your Knight Cap for Monday, October 9, 2023.

Men’s Soccer picks up another SBC win

The #2 UCF Men’s Soccer team marked their return to Orlando with a 2-0 victory over Georgia Southern Saturday night.

Both Knights (6-1-2, 2-1-1 Sun Belt) goals came off the leg of forward Lucca Dourado. The first came in the match’s early stages in the 9th minute, with assists from midfielders Robbie Soronellas and AJ Seals.

“We knew that they were going to play really high in our field and we knew that the second ball that we had, we had to win and play straight forward and that’s what we did,” Dourado said.

The insurance goal came at the 83-minute mark, with forward Emmanuel Bam evading the Eagles goalkeeper to make a pass to Dourado with an empty net in front of him.

The pair of goals put Dourado at six goals for the season and 34 career goals, the sixth-most in program history.

“I think Lucca had a really good week in training and put a lot of time and effort into his finishing this week and got in front of goal a lot and looked sharp and then you see tonight what he’s been able to do,” head coach Scott Calabrese said. “

The Knights not only found opportunities for their offense, tying their season-high 17 shot attempts (with six shots on goal), but their holding midfielders and backline also shut down the Eagles’ offense, limiting it to just four shot attempts, with no shots on goal.

“This is a group that I think is more equipped to deal with different threats and to be really good in the variety of moments that you’re going to see in college soccer,” Calabrese said.

The win and West Virginia’s draw against James Madison on Sunday puts UCF into a three-way tie for second place in the Sun Belt with Old Dominion and South Carolina. However, the Knights did drop one spot to #3 in the RPI rankings, switching places with Georgetown (8-1-1).

Next Up:

@ Old Dominion - Oct. 14, 7 p.m. ESPN+

Volleyball foils Red Raiders

The UCF Volleyball team kept up its streak of Big 12 victories with a 3-0 sweep on the road against Texas Tech on Wednesday.

The win keeps the Knights (14-2, 5-0 Big 12) undefeated in Big 12 play alongside Texas.

Outside hitter Emily Wilson led the team with 16 kills, libero Chloe Scheer came away with 11 digs and middle blocker Abby Hansen got five blocks.

Setter Abby Schomers got three of the team’s seven service aces on the match, which helped increase the Knights’ total to 149 for the season, tied for the third-most in the nation. It also kept the team as the nation’s leader in aces per set (2.57).

UCF only dropped one spot in the RPI rankings to #31 and will return home this week for their final matches of the season against opponents outside the Top 60 in the RPI Rankings.

Next up:

vs. West Virginia - Wednesday, 7 p.m., ESPN+

vs. Kansas State - Saturday, 7 p.m., ESPN+

Women’s Golf takes trophy in Virginia Beach

The #16 ranked UCF Women’s Golf team took the team title at the Evie Odom Invitational in Virginia Beach over the weekend.

The Knights finished at the Princess Anne Country Club with an 850 (+10) and five strokes ahead of second-place Kent State. It’s the third time UCF has brought home a trophy from Virginia Beach (2018 and 2021).

While they did open their weekend with a 273 (+10), the third-lowest 18-hole team score in program history, higher scores would ensue over the next two days. This resulted from, according to the Princess Anne Country Club’s Facebook page, wind and rain hitting the course. The team’s 850 will still go down as the sixth-lowest team 54-hole score in program history, though.

Sophomore Pimpisa “Sandwich” Sisutham led the way for the Knights individually as one of six golfers who finished the tournament under par. She finished in a tie for fifth place at 209 (-1).

Despite finishing over par, senior Jess Baker, grad student Brittany Shin and true freshman Molly Smith did finish in the Top 20 individually. Baker and Smith finished in a tie for 11th at 213 (+3), while Shin was a few strokes behind at 216 (+6) in a tie for 18th.

Grad student Tunrada Piddon rounded out the Knights’ five-player team by finishing tied for 23rd overall at 218 (+8).

Next Up: Mercedes-Benz Intercollegiate - Oct. 15-17

Women’s Soccer drops first two matches of last homestand

The UCF Women’s Soccer team began its final home stand with a 3-1 loss to Texas on Thursday and a 2-1 loss to Baylor on Sunday.

The Knights (8-5, 4-3 Big 12) entered these matches on the back foot, as they were the team’s first this season without its leading goal-scorer, Ellie Moreno, who sustained a season-ending injury, head coach Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak said.

“We’ve lost some players and now it’s time for everyone to put a little bit more on their shoulders and take the team with them,” Sahaydak said on Sunday.

With Moreno sidelined, midfielder Maggie Jenkins stepped up to score the first goal of her collegiate career in the eighth minute to get the Knights out ahead with an assist from forward Chloe Netzel.

Despite the early lead, Texas utilized their All-Big 12 attackers to unleash an offensive onslaught, dominating UCF in shot attempts in the first half, 14-2. The Knights bounced back in the second half, but the Longhorns kept up the pace, getting more shot attempts (26-11) and shots on goal (8-5).

While Ashlyn Miller equalized the match for the Longhorns in the 19th minute, All-Big 12 First Teamer Lexi Missimo was quick to give Texas the lead with a goal in the 21st minute. Missimo also sealed the deal with an insurance goal in the 83rd minute.

As for Baylor, Sahaydak said the team’s performance, simply “wasn’t good enough.”

“We just had a lot of errors, a lot of unforced errors, not a lot of energy, I would say lack of motivation until the last ten minutes,” Sahaydak said. “So, not really something that we can really look back at and be proud of.”

The Bears shot nine of their 11 total attempts on goal, compared to UCF’s five shots on goal in nine attempts.

Baylor got on board first in the 13th minute, but Netzel, with an assist from fellow forward Dayana Martin, equalized in the 16th minute.

It was Netzel’s fifth goal of the season, tying Moreno for the most on the team. As for Martin, she picked up her sixth assist of the season, which also leads the team and is a new career high.

However, Baylor ended up getting the match-deciding goal on a corner kick, one of seven the Bears had on the day, at the 82nd-minute mark.

Following this week’s matches, UCF has allowed 199 shot attempts in 2023, quickly approaching the 203 shot attempts Knights opponents had in 2022 and not far from the 210 shot attempts in 2021, still with three matches remaining in the regular season.

UCF has also now given up 15 goals so far this season, already eclipsing 2022’s 13 goals allowed.

Both losses drop the Knights into a three-way tie for fourth place in the Big 12 standings with Oklahoma State and BYU. Additionally, they fell 26 spots in the RPI rankings to #59. The road will not get any easier for UCF as undefeated Texas Tech (12-0-3, 6-0-1 Big 12) comes to Orlando for Senior Knight.

Next up:

vs. Texas Tech - Thursday, 7 p.m., ESPN+

@ Cincinnati - Sunday, 1 p.m., ESPN+

Men’s Tennis Hosts Fall Sizzler

The UCF Men’s Tennis team was back in Lake Nona this weekend for the UCF Fall Sizzler.

Just like the last event this fall at the USTA National Campus, sophomore Paul Colin made it into the Final of his singles play draw. This time, however, he picked up the victory over North Florida’s Rodrigo Crespo (6-4, 6-3) to go a perfect 4-0 on the weekend and become the Singles A Draw champion.

En route to the Final, Colin had to defeat his teammate sophomore Santiago Giamichelle (6-3, 6-2), the latter going 2-2 for the weekend.

For full results on the Sizzler, check out the UCF Athletics website.

A few days prior to the Sizzler, sophomore Yassine Dlimi wrapped up his run at the ITA All-American Championships in Tulsa, Oklahoma with a loss to USC’s Lodewijk Weststrate (0-6, 6-4, 1-6).

Next Up: ITA Regionals - Oct. 12-16

Women’s Tennis fall pro circuit continues

A few members of the UCF Women’s Tennis team competed in Rome, Georgia last week in another ITF Women’s World Tennis Tour event.

In singles play, sophomore Stefani Webb took down Tori Kinard (7-5, 4-6, 7-6(5)), but would fall in the second round of the qualifying draw to Frenchwoman Mallaurie Noel (4-6, 4-6).

Noel also took down freshman Olivia Lincer back in the first round of the qualifying draw (5-7, 6-1, 6-3).

Lincer had better fortunes in doubles play, teaming up with Georgia Tech alum Rasheeda McAdoo to win two matches to get to the semifinals. The duo ultimately fell to Robin Anderson and Fernanda Contreras (6-4, 6-3).

Lincer is back on the court this week, alongside Webb in singles and doubles play, at the ITF’s event in Florence, South Carolina, which began on Monday. However, before Lincer played her first match in the singles main draw, Webb already fell in her first match of the singles qualifying draw to 26-year-old Christina Rosca (6-4, 2-6, 11-9).

Next Up:

ITF W25 Florence - Present-Oct. 13

ITA Regionals - Oct. 12-15

Knight of the Week

Lucca Dourado, Men’s Soccer

Following a couple of matches without finding the net, Dourado converted a pair of goals against Georgia Southern to break his tie with Matias Pyysalo (2014-2017) for the sixth-most goals in UCF Men’s Soccer history. Now with 34 goals, he is five shy of fifth-place Rony Francois (1980-1983).

“I’m proud of myself for doing this,” Dourado said. “Couldn’t do this without my teammates, they’re the ones that help me a lot to do that, sometimes I just have to put the ball in the net, just a tap-in, and they’re the ones that should get credit for that.”

Knights Play of the Week

Emmanuel Bam’s assist on Men’s Soccer’s 2nd goal, outmaneuvering Georgia Southern’s goalkeeper