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 continue the countdown:
#40 - Susan Patz (Basketball)
Susan Patz was the first UCF women’s basketball player to be enshrined in the UCF Athletics Hall of Fame, earning that honor in 2000. She played from 1982-86 and was instrumental in the program’s transition from Division II to Division I.
She was named to the inaugural First Team All-New South Women’s Athletic Conference (a precursor to the ASUN) in her final season as a Knight in 1986.
Patz was the first woman in program history to score more than 1,500 points, which still ranks fourth in program history. She also ranks third in program history in most field goals made (638), third in most free throws made (371), seventh in blocks (85) and ninth in scoring average (13.4).
#39 - Krystina Sarff (Rowing)
Krystina Sarff was the first UCF rower to become a three-time CRCA All-American (2006-2008). She was selected to the Second Team in 2006 and she remains the only Knight in program history to ever get selected a First Team All-American, doing so twice in 2007 and 2008.
She led the Knights to the program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance in program history in 2007 and their highest ranking in the polls (#9) during her time at UCF (2004-2008).
In 2022, Sarff became the first rower to be inducted into the UCF Athletics Hall of Fame.
Nowadays, she is an Assistant Professor of Sport Management and Clinical Coordinator at North Central College.
#38 - Kia Bright (Volleyball)
A transfer from Auburn, Kia Bright was the top hitter for UCF’s 2014 AAC Championship team. She was an AVCA All-American Honorable Mention selection in her first year at UCF, a two-time All-Region selection (First Team in 2014 and Honorable Mention in 2017) and a three-time First Team All-AAC pick (2014, 2016, 2017).
An outstanding two-way player, Bright ranks seventh all-time in kills (1,368), sixth in digs (1,221), seventh in digs per set (2.97), and eighth in kills per set (3.33). She is one of six UCF Volleyball players all-time to record both 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs, along with Renata Menchikova, Tyra Harper, Miriam Metzcus, Erin Campbell and McKenna Melville.
Since departing UCF, Bright played professionally in 2019 and 2019 in Finland and the Philippines. While in the Philippines, she set a Premier Volleyball League record for the Most points scored in a single match in 2018, which stood until 2022.
#37 - Diamond Battles (Basketball)
While she would elect to follow head coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson to Georgia for her extra year of eligibility, Diamond Battles’ four seasons at UCF culminated in program history.
While she would come off the bench in 2018-19, only seeing 309 minutes of action, but her contributions helped get the Knights to their first NCAA Tournament since 2011. After becoming an off-and-on starter in 2019-20, Battles became an everyday starter in 2020-21, getting another NCAA Tournament appearance and making the AAC All-Tournament Team.
Then, in 2022, Battles led the UCF to its first regular season conference title since 2005, its first conference tournament title since 2011 and its first NCAA Tournament game in program history. Battles was named to the AAC All-Tournament Team and named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.
That same season, Battles was unanimously selected to the All-AAC First Team, named both AAC Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year and selected as a WBCA All-America Honorable Mention.
She would finish her career ranked eighth in program history in career free throws made (255) on the 10th-most career free throw attempts (344), 10th in career assists (300) and 10th in steals (168).
Battles signed as an undrafted free agent with the Connecticut Sun and while she did see action in a preseason game on May 10th, she was ultimately waived later that day. She will begin her professional basketball career in earnest overseas for Evnikos Basketball Club in the Greek Women’s Basketball League.
#36 - Tari Phillips (Basketball)
An Edgewater High School product, Tari Phillips (1990-91) played one season at UCF after transferring from Georgia, and in that one season set several individual season and single-game records.
After sitting out the fall semester due to NCAA transfer rules, she scored a school-record 45 points in a game against Lamar in her seventh game as a Knight, which is the most points any player has scored in a single game in program history. She also has two more games in the Top 10 highest-scoring games in program history: a 41-pointer against Texas Pan-Am and a 37-pointer in her last game as a Knight Stetson.
Phillips’ lone season ranks second in program history in scoring average (21.3), fourth in most field goals made (213), seventh in points (532) and tied for 11th in program history in rebounds (261). She was named the All-American South Conference team (the conference would merge with the Sun Belt months after this).
Phillips began her professional career overseas, but she would return to the United States to play in the short-lived American Basketball League (1996-1998), where she was the league’s 1997 All-Star Game MVP. After the ABL folded in 1998, Phillips was selected by the Orlando Miracle in the first round (8th overall) of the 1999 WNBA Draft. Phillips only spent one season with the Miracle, since she would get selected by the Portland Fire in the WNBA’s 2000 Expansion Draft and later traded to the New York Liberty.
She played with the Liberty from 2000 to 2004, winning the league’s Most Improved Award in 2000, playing in the WNBA All-Star Game for four consecutive seasons (2000-2003) and reaching two WNBA Finals, losing both (2000 and 2002). She was also selected to the All-WNBA Second Team in 2002. She spent her last three seasons in the WNBA with the Houston Comets, from 2005-2007.
Phillips also won a gold medal with the U.S. National Women’s Basketball team in the 2002 FIBA Women’s World Cup in China. She was inducted into the UCF Athletics Hall of Fame in 2003.
T-#35 - Vera Varis (Soccer)
Vera Varis was a two-time AAC Goalkeeper of the Tear (2017 and 2018) that helped UCF to the 2017 AAC regular season championship. She was an All-AAC All-First Team selection twice (2017-2018) and earned a spot on the AAC All-Freshman Team in 2015. She was named an All-American in 2017 and an All-Region performer twice (2017-2018) as well.
She ranks fifth in program history with 231 career saves, and her 21 shutouts rank seventh all-time. Varis also finished her career with a 1.07 goals-against average, which ranks 10th all-time at UCF.
A native of Finland, Varis has played professionally around the Nordic world since departing UCF. She played three seasons in Sweden from 2019-2021 and returned to Finland in 2022 to help Kuopion Palloseura to a Kansallinen Liiga (the premier Finnish women’s soccer league) title. Today, she is in playing in the premier league of women’s soccer in Iceland (Besta deild kvenna) with Keflavík FC.
Vera Varis semur til 2024. Hún er reynslumikill markmaður frà Finnlandi. Velkomin til okkar í Keflavík ⚽️ pic.twitter.com/h1M1oqsxRC— Keflavík Fc (@FcKeflavik) February 10, 2023
T-#35 - Caroline DeLisle (Soccer)
The latest in a long line of storied female UCF goalkeepers, Caroline DeLisle is a back-to-back AAC Goalkeeper of the Year and All-AAC First Team selection (2021-2022), just like her predecessor, Vera Varis. She was also selected to the AAC’s All-Rookie team in 2019.
She helped the Knights to their 2022 AAC regular-season championship, the program’s first since 2017, and the second round of the NCAA Tournament, the program’s first since 2014.
Going into her final collegiate season in 2023, her 233 career saves rank fourth in program history. She also ranks fifth in career shutouts (26) and sixth in career goals-against average (.806).
Read the Banneret’s Bryson Turner’s 2021 profile on DeLisle here.
#34 - Kristen Putman (Golf)
Kristen Putman is the all-time leader at UCF (1993-1996) in career college tournament wins with eight, including winning the ASUN Championship in 1996. She was part of UCF’s first team to advance past the regionals and into the program’s NCAA Championship in 1996, where it would finish 15th.
In her freshman year of 1993, Putman earned All-ASUN Conference honors, qualified for the NCAA East Regional, and also qualified for the U.S. Women’s Open that year, along with teammate Connie Masterson and UCF alumna Liz Earley.
She was All-ASUN all four years and was named to the Women’s Golf Coaches Association’s All-American Honorable Mention Team in 1995.
#33 - Amber Olson (Volleyball)
Taking over from her older sister, Erin, setter Amber Olson broke out for a pair of over 1,200 assist seasons in 2021 and 2022 that helped her get to 3,992 total assists for her career, the third-most in program history behind only Emily Queisser (5,923) and UCF Athletic Hall of Famer Jenny Frank (4,825).
Olson was named the AAC’s Setter of the Year and selected to the All-AAC First Team in 2021 and 2022 as well. Over her career, spanning 2018-2022 thanks to an extra season of eligibility awarded to athletes in the wake of the pandemic, the Knights won five AAC Championships and made five NCAA Tournament appearances.
Olson also ranks sixth in program history in sets played (494), ninth in matches played (137), 10th in career digs (1,119) and 10th in career service aces (120).
#32- Tunrada Piddon (Women’s Golf)
Hailing from Thailand, Tunrada “Pat” Piddon led the UCF Women’s Golf team on a string of postseason consistency.
She was named to the AAC All-Conference Team three times (2021-2023) and the 2022 AAC Player of the Year while finishing in the Top 10 of all three AAC Women’s Golf Championships she competed in (T-4th in 2021, 2nd in 2022, and 7th in 2023). She also helped the Knights make three consecutive NCAA Regional appearances.
Entering the 2023-2024 season, Piddon sports a 72.06 scoring average, the lowest in program history. She also set the lowest single-season scoring average in program history three times: a 71.9 in 2019-20, a 71.71 in 2021-22 and a 71.68 in 2022-23.
She won four tournaments over her UCF career, the third-most in program history: the 2019 Mason Rudolph Championship, the 2020 Lady Gator Invitational, the 2021 Evie Odom Invitational and the 2022 Mercedes-Benz Intercollegiate.
Her first two victories, coming in her freshman season, were the first time a Knight had won more than one tournament individually in a season since the 2000-2001 season.
During her 2021 Evie Odom Invitational win, Piddon set a new individual 54-hole program record with a 200 and helped the team set a new 54-hole record with an 841.
Piddon would later hit a 202 in her Mercedes-Benz Intercollegiate victory, claiming second place on the list as well. While Anna Nordfors would hit a 195 in the 2023 UCF Challenge, Piddon still currently holds two of the three lowest three 54-hole scores in program history.
Piddon also made her mark on the program’s lowest 18-hole score record, hitting its first 64 in the 2022 Mercedes-Benz Intercollegiate. She would also record a 65 in the spring of 2023. While the record was lowered multiple times in the 2022-23 season, of the 23 best rounds in program history (ranging from 62s-67s), Piddon hit five of them.
Over the offseason before her fifth-year, Piddon finished 2nd overall at the Singha Thailand Ladies Amateur Open.
#31 - Gianna Mancha (Softball)
Gianna Mancha came to UCF from Boise State and helped the Knights to two NCAA Tournament appearances (2021-2022) and AAC regular season and tournament titles in 2022. Mancha helped lead the Knights to their first-ever Super Regional, going 2-0 in Orlando Regional including getting the win in the regional final against Michigan.
She was a two-time All-AAC performer and a two-time All-Region performer (2021-2022) who, despite only playing two full seasons (her first season as a Knight was cut short due to the pandemic), ranks eighth in program history in career wins (43), complete games (32) and inning pitched (398).
She also ranks seventh in shutouts (14), seventh in strikeouts (379), 11th in ERA (2.25), fourth in strikeouts per seven innings (6.67), fifth in lowest opponent batting average (.190) and tied for second in saves (8). Mancha had three career no-hitters which is tied for third most.
Mancha is in her 2nd season in the WPF with Smashing Vipers after being selected 5th in the 2022 WPF Draft.
Mancha also played for Puerto Rico national team in 2022 at Pan American Games and took gold with the team at the 2023 Central American and Caribbean Games held in San Salvador, El Salvador.