A lot has changed since the world emerged from the COVID-19 lockdowns, which was the last time we ranked the Top 100 Female Athletes in UCF history.
In just three years, many legends cemented their status in her final few seasons, while others were born, and for a few athletes, their stories have been rediscovered.
With UCF getting ready for its first year as a member of the Big 12, it’s once again time to count down the Top 100 female UCF Knights athletes of all time.
Criteria used to create this list include:
- A player’s impact on their respective sport and on the school
- Accomplishments they had after their UCF career
- Accolades they have received. For example, if an athlete has been inducted into the UCF Athletics Hall of Fame, they are automatically on the list.
We made sure to include at least one athlete from every UCF sport.
Now, let’s begin the countdown:
T-#100 - Veronica Widyadharma (Tennis)
Veronica Widyadharma led the charge for the UCF Women’s Tennis team as it won four consecutive ASUN titles from 1997-2000, the first conference championships in program history, and made three NCAA Tournament appearances in 1997, 1999, and 2000, also the first for the program.
To round out her trailblazing, Widyadharma was also the first in program history to be selected for the NCAA Women’s Tennis Singles Championship in 1999. She fell to UCLA’s Amanda Basica in the first round, 6-3, 6-2.
Widyadharma was named ASUN Player of the Year twice in 1997 and 1998 and was named to the ASUN All-Conference team three times from 1997-1999.
The Indonesian native’s 84 singles-play victories remain the second-most in program history.
T-#100 - Nandini Sharma (Tennis)
When the UCF Women’s Tennis team had another string of NCAA Tournament appearances from 2019-2023 and a pair of American Athletic Conference Championships in 2019 and 2021, Nandini Sharma was there through it all.
While the Chandigarh, India native mostly found herself stationed on Court #6, she found ways to consistently win, and a point on Court #6 counts the same as a point on Court #1.
Sharma finished her career with the 3rd-most singles-play wins in program history (81), the 4th-most combined wins in program history (141), and tied for the 2nd-longest singles-play winning streak in program history thanks to a 13-match winning streak in late 2022.
#99 - Linda Gancitano (Soccer)
Gancitano played defense while at UCF from 1981-1985 and was part of UCF’s 1982 NCAA Championship runner-up team. She was named the Defensive MVP of the first-ever NCAA Women’s Soccer Tournament in 1982, in which the Knights made it to the championship game, falling 2-0 to North Carolina.
She was also named to the NSCAA All-American reserve team and NSCAA All-Southeast Region teams in 1981 and was chosen as one of the team’s most valuable players that year. She also won the Coaches’ Award in 1984.
She then played for the U.S. Women’s National Team, making her international debut in the squad’s inaugural match on August 18, 1985, against Italy. She earned her second and final cap on August 24, 1985, against Denmark.
Gancitano’s career was cut short after tearing the ACL in her left knee in 1986. But she made a huge impact after that as a teacher and coach in Broward County and was honored in 2015 by President Barack Obama for her work in education.
#98- Masseny Kaba (Basketball)
Masseny Kaba is one of a select few UCF Women’s Basketball players that have been to the NCAA Tournament three times (2019, 2021 and 2022).
During her time as a Knight, from 2017-2022, she recorded the 3rd-most blocks in program history (123), the 4th-most rebounds in program history (846), the 9th-most successful free throw in program history (244) and the 10th-most points in program history (1,214).
Kaba is the only Knight in program history with at least 800 rebounds and 100 blocks.
Despite these statistical accomplishments, she has only been named to the AAC All-Freshman team in 2017-18 and the All-AAC Third Team once (2021-22). Though, she did make the AAC All-Tournament team twice (2020-21 and 2021-22). She also helped the Knights to their 2021-2022 AAC regular-season championship, the team’s first since 2005, and their subsequent AAC Tournament title, the program’s first since 2011.
#97- Heather Brann (Soccer)
The first of several UCF Women’s Soccer goalkeepers on this list, Heather Brann played for the Knights from 1990-1994. She guarded the net for the Knights in their 1991 NCAA Tournament appearance and was voted the team’s MVP in the program’s first two seasons in the ASUN in 1993 and 1994.
Brann was named to the All-ASUN Third Team in 1993 and the First Team in 1994. Her 1994 season still holds with the most saves in a single season in program history with 129. Overall, Brann ranks third in both career saves (338) and shutouts (29.5).
T-#96 - Monica Matias (Tennis)
Matias is the all-time leader in singles wins at UCF with 93 career victories, and has the most combined wins in singles and doubles with 175. She was an All-AAC performer in 2017 and 2018. Matias also holds the UCF record for most wins in a single season with 24 in the 2014-2015 season.
Matias helped the Knights get back to the NCAA Tournament in 2018, which was the first time UCF had been to the tournament since 2002.
T-#96 - Valeriya Zeleva (Women Tennis)
Valeriya Zeleva was the first player in UCF Tennis history to appear in both the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships in the same season. She made it all the way to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Doubles Championships with partner Ksenia Kuznetsova.
Zeleva has the Knights’ record for the highest ranking by a singles player, being ranked 27th in ITA rankings at one point in 2019.
Lera has been named the @American_Tenn Player of the Year! She earned a remarkable 17-5 record in singles and went 12-4 in doubles, all at the #1 spot!— UCF Women's Tennis (@UCF_WTennis) May 2, 2019
: https://t.co/hRKXesopow pic.twitter.com/SFnWELiTz4
Zeleva helped lead UCF to the program’s first conference championship in 2019. She was the AAC Most Outstanding Player of the Year award winner in 2019.
#95- Sandy Carter (Women’s Soccer)
Sandy Carter (1986-1989) played alongside the likes of Michelle Akers and Amy Allman on the UCF Women’s Soccer teams of the late 80s, heading to the Final Four in 1987 and the second round in 1988.
Despite the greatness surrounding her, Carter found ways to stand out. Her 15-goal freshman season in 1986 ranks as the 5th-most in a single season in program history. Overall, Carter has the 3rd-most goals in program history with 41 and the 5th-most points in program history with 97.
She was selected to the NSCAA’s All-Southeast Region team in 1989.
#94 - Evija Vilde (Volleyball)
A native of Riga, Latvia, Vilde ranks in the top ten all-time at UCF in kills with 1,203, and was a 2nd-team All-CUSA performer in 2011.
#93 - Connie Organ (Soccer)
UCF Women’s Soccer has had many great goalkeepers in its history, several of which we will see later on this list. However, it’s Connie Organ, who played from 2012-2014 that leads them all with the lowest career goals-against average in program history (0.53).
Organ was part of the Knights’ back-to-back American regular season championships (2013-2014) and made 12 saves during UCF’s postseason run to the Sweet 16 in 2014.
In her most remarkable performance, Organ was subbed into the 2013 AAC Tournament Championship match vs. Rutgers when it went to penalty kicks and came up with two huge saves to clinch the inaugural AAC Championship. This feat got her named Player of the Week by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.
Organ proceeded to have her breakout year in 2014. She recorded 12 shutouts, the 2nd-most in a single season in program history, and was named AAC Goalkeeper of the Year and All-AAC First Team.
#92 - Sonja Shedden (Cross Country/Track and Field)
Between 1998 and 2003, Sonja Shedden led the way for a cross country squad that won the ASUN title in 1999, and a distance squad of a Track and Field program that won five ASUN titles in that time span.
As a cross country athlete, Shedden was named to the ASUN All-Conference team in all four years she competed, 1998-2001, finishing in the Top 5 of all four ASUN Cross Country Championships she ran in. She remains the only UCF cross country athlete to have accomplished such a feat. She was also the ASUN Individual Cross Country Champion and named ASUN Runner of the Year in 1999 and 2000.
Shedden earned NCAA All-Region status by finishing in the Top 10 of the NCAA South Regional in 2000 and 2001, and raced in the NCAA Cross Country Championship in 2000. She still holds the third-fastest 5K and the 8th-fastest 6K run in program history.
On the track, Shedden is one of only three athletes in ASUN history to be the 10K champion three times (1999, 2001, 2003). She finished on the podium in ASUN Track and Field Championship events an additional four times, whether it was the 3K, the 5K, or the 10K. She still ranks 5th in program history in the Indoor 3K, 2nd in the Indoor 5K, 4th in the Outdoor 5K, and 2nd in the Outdoor 10K.
#91 - Carol Rodrigues (Soccer)
Rodrigues was the AAC Offensive Player of the Year in 2015 and was a First Team All-AAC Conference performer in both of her seasons at UCF (2015-2016). She scored 23 goals in her two seasons for the Knights, including this memorable bicycle kick goal vs. Tulsa in 2015, which landed her on ESPN’s SportsCenter Top 10: