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Knight Cap: Baseball Falls Midweek; Track Preps for AAC Indoors

Plus: Women’s Tennis moves up in national rankings

UCF Baseball #40 Ben McCabe rounds the bases after hitting his fourth home run this season.
Noah Goldberg

This past two weeks of UCF Knights saw one team suffer its first loss of the 2023 season, one team’s struggles continue, another team improve its national ranking while another team slid in its national rankings.

Plus, we name the Knight of the Week in your Knight Cap for Thursday, February 24, 2023.

Baseball Suffers First 2023 Loss Against FAU

The UCF Baseball team suffered its first defeat of the 2023 season in its first midweek game of the season, a 13-3 loss at the hands of Florida Atlantic.

The Owls set the tone early with a home run on the very first at-bat of the game, followed by two more runs scoring before the top half of the 1st inning was out.

FAU’s 3B Jackson Ross ended his night with a pair of home runs and 5 total RBIs.

Meanwhile, the Knights were only able to score via a couple of RBIs from 3B Andrew Brait and a solo home run by C Ben McCabe.

Starting pitcher Jacob Marlowe was credited with the loss after going four innings and allowing 4 runs on 2 hits.

The Knights will look to rebound as they travel for their first road series of the year against Clemson. Game 1 begins at 4 p.m. on Friday.

Women’s Golf Maintains Top 25 Rank After Melbourne Tournament

The UCF Women’s Golf team competed in its 2nd tournament of the spring at the Moon Golf Invitational in Melbourne, Florida this week.

The Knights got off to a good start, finishing in 2nd place after the first round with a 278. However, a 3rd-round 294 (+6) dropped the team to 855 (-9) for the tournament, which resulted in a tied for 7th place finish.

Senior Tunrada Piddon led the team with a 213 (-3) for the tournament, finishing in a tie for 23rd.

For the full results of the Moon Golf Invitational, check out

UCF dropped down to No. 25 in the nation after the tournament as a team. As for Piddon herself, she dropped down to the No. 25-ranked player in the nation.

The team will look to rebound next week as it travels to Gainesville for the Gators Invitational on March 4-5.

Track and Field Preps For AAC Meet

The UCF Track and Field team competed in their final indoor meets before the AAC Championship meet on Feb. 10-11.

The team was split up, with the distance group traveling up to Boston University’s Valentine Invitational and the rest of the team competing in the Tiger Paw Invitational in Clemson, South Carolina.

The highlight out of the distance group was true freshman Isabella Richardson breaking the program’s freshman record in the 3K run with a 9:39.99 time. It was the 2nd UCF freshman record she’s broken in her collegiate career, with the first coming during the cross country season when she broke the freshman record in the 5K run.

For the full results from the Valentine Invitational, check out Lancer Timing Services’ results page.

As for the rest of the team in Clemson, high lights there included:

  • Junior Rayniah Jones took home the bronze in the 60-meter hurdles with an 8.08-second time, her fastest of the season and 12th-fastest in the nation. Senior Kaylor Harris took home a 5th-place finish with an 8.15-second time, the 21st-fastest time in the nation.
  • Sophomore Asherah Collins tied the 2nd-longest indoor long jump in program history with a 6.21-meter best jump. It was enough to get her a 9th-place finish in the event and the 25th-longest jump in the nation.
  • Daija Lampkin ran the 31st fastest 200-meter dash in the country with a 23.37-second time that got her a 12th-place finish in the event.
  • Junior Kaliah Jones set a new personal record in the High Jump with a 1.74-meter best jump. It earned her a 10th-place finish in the event, but also 3rd-place on the program’s all-time indoor high jump list.

For full results from the Tiger Paw Invitational, check out the AthleticLIVE website.

The Knights will be back on the track for the American Athletic Conference Indoor Track and Field Championship meet in Birmingham, Alabama on Friday and Saturday.

Men’s Tennis Drop Two Matches to Finish Road Trip

The UCF Men’s Tennis team fell to Nebraska and Miami to finish off the road trip it began back during ITA Kickoff Weekend on Jan. 28.

The Knights fell to Nebraska, 4-1. The lone point for UCF came from senior Bogdan Pavel picking up a victory over Nebraska’s Shunya Maruyama (6-1, 7-5).

Pavel also won in doubles play alongside partner Lleyton Cronje against Maruyama and his partner, Nic Wiedenhorn (6-3).

Pavel and Cronje also won in doubles play against Miami’s Juan Martin Jalif and Martin Vegura (6-3). The win put Pavel and Cronje at 2-1 together for the season and helped them maintain the No. 48 spot in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s NCAA Doubles-pair rankings.

The duo was the only UCF victory against a Hurricane that day, however. Miami (FL) ultimately swept UCF, 4-0.

The Knights will look to rebound as they return to the USTA National Campus for the first time in just over a month on Friday at 2 p.m. against North Florida. Then, the team will face No. 16-ranked Florida State at 3 p.m. the next day.

Women’s Tennis Cracks Top 15 Nationally

The UCF Women’s Tennis may have gone 1-2 this past week, but it was still able to elevate itself in national rankings.

The week started out well with a 4-2 victory over Florida International. The match was highlighted by senior Marie Mattel and sophomore Noel Saidenova teaming up in doubles play to defeat the No. 45-ranked pair in the nation, Ekaterina Khayrutdinova and Kamila Umarova (6-4).

The Knights then traveled up to Nashville to take on No. 15-ranked Vanderbilt, falling 4-1. They had a much closer matchup with No. 24-ranked Tennessee, but ultimately lost that match as well, 4-3.

Despite those losses, UCF raised its ranking in the latest ITA’s rankings (released on Tuesday) from No. 19 to No. 14 in the nation, just behind No. 12-ranked Tennessee and No. 13-ranked Vanderbilt.

The Knights will have more opportunities to make a name for themselves in the national spotlight as they return home to the USTA National Campus for a month-long home stand. It begins on Friday at 5 p.m. as the team hosts No. 65-ranked TCU, followed up by a noon match with No. 25-ranked Pepperdine on Sunday.

Knight of the Week

Marie Mattel - Women’s Tennis

Senior Marie Mattel catapulted herself up over ten sports in the ITA’s rankings after going 3-0 in her singles play matches for the UCF Women’s Tennis team over the past week.

She got the only point for the Knights against Vanderbilt with her defeat of Vanderbilt’s No. 34-ranked Celia-Belle Mohr (7-5, 6-2).

She followed it up with a victory over Tennessee’s No. 65-ranked Elza Tomase (6-3, 6-2).

Thanks to those wins, she was named the AAC’s Women’s Tennis Player of the Week and moved up to No. 31 in the ITA Singles Player rankings.