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:
#30 - Kelly Kochevar (Soccer)
While Michelle Akers was in the prime of her US Women’s National team career, a new forward at her alma mater was on her way toward surpassing her program career goals record.
With her 53rd career goal in 1994, Kelly Kochevar passed Akers for the most career goals in program history. She also holds the program record for the most game-winning goals with 20. For comparison, second place Courtney Whidden scored 13.
Kochevar does still trail Akers on the program’s career points list. Her 122 points came 12 shy of Akers’ 134. She led the Knights in scoring in three of her four seasons, in 1991 (39 points), 1993 (36) and 1994 (33), all of which rank in the Top 10 in UCF’s single-season scoring list.
Kochevar is tied with Akers with six consecutive matches with a goal. She led UCF to the NCAA Tournament in 1991, scoring 16 goals with seven assists, including a school-record seven game-winners. She was also selected to the All-Region team.
Upon the program joining the ASUN midway into Kochevar’s career, she was named to the All-ASUN First Team twice and led the Knights to a pair of ASUN titles in 1993 and 1994.
She was inducted into the UCF Athletics Hall of Fame in 2008.
#29 - Becca Thomas (Soccer)
Becca Thomas was the 2009 CUSA Midfielder of the Year, a two-time CUSA First Team member (2008 & 2009) and a two-time All-Region selection (2008-2009). She was also named to the CUSA’s All-Freshman Team in 2006.
Thomas was an NSCAA All-American in 2009, the first UCF midfielder to be named an NSCAA All-American since Mary Varas in 1983.
She helped lead UCF to a pair of CUSA Championships in 2007 and 2009 and three consecutive NCAA tournament appearances (2007-2009).
She ranks tied for fifth all-time at UCF in both career assists (29) and career game-winning goals (10).
Nowadays, Thomas is married and raising a child with fellow former soccer player Dennis Chin.
#28 - Liz Earley (Golf)
Liz Earley was an early star in the UCF Women’s Golf program. She won five college tournaments at UCF, which ranks her second all-time in program history. She was also part of two conference championships between 1988-1992 and was the program’s first All-American, earning the honor in 1992.
In 1990, Earley earned medalist and All-Conference honors and was named the New South Women’s Athletic Conference’s (precursor to the ASUN) Player of the Year as UCF won the conference title.
The following year, Earley was named the Golfweek National Golfer of the Month for March and became the second player in program history to make it to the NCAA Championship, doing so as an individual. The last time a Knight made it to the NCAA Championship before her was Sharon Smith in 1984. Earley finished tied for 46th overall.
In 1992, Earley was the Sun Belt Conference medalist, winning the individual Sun Belt Championship in a sudden-death playoff and helping UCF win the Sun Belt Conference team championship as well. This helped the team make its first appearance in the NCAA Division I Top 20 poll. Earley returned to the NCAA Championship as well, becoming the first Knight to make it there multiple times, and finished tied for 47th.
According to a 2021 feature on Earley by BP Sports Niagra, Earley competed in the LPGA for five years, earned $80,000 across her entire professional career and won five championships. Though, even after her time on the LPGA, she still made headlines after winning the 2002 Canadian PGA Women’s Championship on her home course, the St. Catharines Golf and Country Club in Ontario, Canada.
As of the 2021 article, Earley is a store manager of a housewares and home decor store in Toronto, Canada.
#27 - Alea White (Softball)
One might argue her resume should yield a higher ranking, but there is no spot on this list with more meaning than Alea White at #27 as her story cannot be told without it.
White was born prematurely, weighing just 1 pound, 9 ounces, and had to be on life support for 27 days.
“I couldn’t imagine not wearing the number...I wear 27 to show others to not let anyone tell you that you can’t do something,” Alea White said to D1Softball.com back in a feature article in 2021. “If you set your mind to it, you can do anything.”
White holds many UCF career pitching records. She holds the program record for career starts (139), appearances (180), innings pitched (969.1), complete games (103) and wins (99). She also ranks third in program history in career shutouts (26), third in saves (7), fourth in strikeouts (688), fourth in lowest opponent batting average (.189) and 10th in ERA (2.23).
White was a three-time All-Region First Team selection (2018, 2019 and 2021) and a four-time All-AAC performer, making the First Team in 2019 and 2021 and the Second Team in 2017 and 2018. She was an AAC All-Rookie Team selection in 2017 as well.
White also finished T-22nd in the NCAA in wins in 2018 with 25, which is also tied for fourth-most in a single season by any Knight pitcher. She UCF to the 2021 NCAA Tournament regional final in Tallahassee.
so grateful to these 4 coaches & their investment in me! Thank you https://t.co/j2Z0f6zcBM— LeLe † (@white_alea) June 9, 2022
Following her decorated playing career as a Knight, White joined Cindy Ball-Malone’s staff as a graduate assistant and helped lead the Knights to a 49-win season in 2022, including AAC regular season and tournament titles, a selection as the No. 16 national seed and the program’s first time hosting and winning a regional.
Our all-time wins leader keeps rackin' em up! @white_alea and @UNGSoftball have won the NCAA Division II National Championship! Congratulations, Coach Lele!— UCF Softball (@UCF_Softball) May 31, 2023
: https://t.co/cNyukhq2Gu pic.twitter.com/JNbdgwxDG8
In the summer of 2022, White joined the coaching staff at North Georgia, a Division ll program, as an assistant coach handling the pitching staff and calling pitches. The Nighthawks ended up having one of the top pitching staffs in Division ll in 2023, culminating in a 64-7 record and a Division ll National Championship.
T-#26 - Kay Kay Wright (Basketball)
Jones High School alum Kay Kay Wright (2016-2020) is the only Knight in UCF Women’s Basketball history to rank in the top five in career points scored (ranking third with 1,614), assists (second with 494) and steals (third, 268). She is also the only Knight with 1,600 points, 400 assists and 250 steals in a career.
Wright also ranks sixth in program history in career free throws made (288), fourth in free-throw percentage (.787) and fourth in most field goals made (625). She was a unanimous First Team All-AAC selection in 2020 after also making First Team in 2019.
Wright led the Knights into the postseason three times, starting with two WNIT appearances in 2017 and 2018. In 2019, she helped UCF reach the NCAA Tournament as an at-large for the first time in program history en route to recording 595 points on the season, the second-most in a single season in program history. Wright scored these points on 230 successful field goals, which ranks third-highest in a single season in program history.
After a brief overseas professional career with stops in Sweden and France, Wright is now back in Orlando working for the City of Orlando and also heading up a foundation she started, “Delayed Not Denied Training.”
T-#26 - Chariya Davis (Basketball)
Chariya Davis was a four-year standout for the Knights from 1995-99, bringing UCF to the NCAA Tournament twice in 1996 and 1999.
Davis is UCF’s all-time leader in assists (531) and tied for the all-time lead in steals (284). She ranks ninth in program history in career rebounds (634), sixth in points (1,517), seventh in field goals made (543), second in free throws made (393) and tied for 10th in scoring average (13.3).
She was named All-ASUN twice, making the second team in 1997-98 and the first team in 1998-99. Davis was also named ASUN Player of the Year and ASUN Tournament MVP in 1999 and was an ASUN All-Tournament team selection twice.
Davis was inducted into the UCF Athletics Hall of Fame in 2009. Nowadays, she is a teacher and girl’s basketball coach at James S. Rickards High School. Since taking the job in 2008, Davis has led the team to three consecutive FHSAA 5A Final Fours (2011-2013).
T-#25 - Miriam Metzcus (Volleyball)
Before there was McKenna Melville, there was Miriam Metzcus.
Playing from 1991-1994, she was a three-time All-ASUN First Team selection and led the Knights to three consecutive ASUN titles, an appearance in the NIVC in 1993 and the program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance in 1994.
By her career’s end, she held the program records for both career kills (1,811) and digs (1,644) and while they would both be surpassed later on, those marks still put her in fourth in program history on both lists. Both Metzcus and Melville are the only players in program history in the top five in both career kills and digs.
Metzcus does still hold the program record for the most career service aces (235) and aces per set (0.46). She also ranks third in career matches played (141), fourth in sets played (510), sixth in kills per set (3.55) and fifth in digs per set (3.22).
After her playing days, Metzcus would return to UCF as a graduate assistant in 1995 and later an assistant from 1996-1997. After Smith’s resignation, Metzcus served as interim head coach for the 1998 season. Nowadays, she is a reading teacher and volleyball coach at her alma mater, Hialeah-Miami Lakes Senior High School.
T-#25 - Emily Queisser (Volleyball)
Alongside Metzcus during the volleyball team’s 90s there was Emily Queisser, who played from 1992-1995.
Since Queisser arrived one year later than Metzcus, she joined the team the same year the program joined the ASUN, allowing her to get selected as an All-ASUN performer in all four years of her career. She was selected to the Second Team from 1992-1994 and got a First Team selection in 1995. She’s also one of three players in program history to win both ASUN Player of Year (1995) and ASUN Tournament MVP (1994).
Both Queisser and Renata Mechikova were the first in program history to get selected to an AVCA All-Region team when they both did so in 1995.
During her career, Queisser helped the Knights to four ASUN titles (1992-1995), part of a six-year ASUN title streak for the program, a 1993 NIVC appearance and two NCAA Tournament appearances (1994-1995).
Today, Queisser is still the program’s all-time leader in games played (156) and assists (5,923). Three of her four seasons rank in the top four on the program’s single-season assists list.
She also ranks second in career aces (201), third in sets played (521), tied for fourth in aces per set (0.39) and seventh in digs (1,155).
Nowadays, Queisser is married to UCF Athletics Hall of Famer Chad Mottola and works as a Senior Program Manager for SmartSky Networks.
#24 - Laura Smith (Volleyball)
Laura Smith played at UCF (initially FTU) from 1977-79 and was a two-time All-American (1977-1978) for the Knights. UCF won 165 of 176 matches in her three seasons as a player, including an incredible 55-0 mark in 1978 en route to the AIAW Small College National Championship. Smith was even named to the AIAW All-Tournament First Team that season.
Smith returned to the program as its head coach from 1991-1997. She was inducted into the UCF Athletics Hall of Fame in 1999 and again in 2015 as part of the 1978 team. She was also honored by the program in 2017 when she was inducted into the UCF Volleyball Ring of Honor.
#23- Tishia Jewell (Soccer)
Tishia Jewell is one of the greatest passers in program history. She is the program’s all-time leader in assists with 36 and ranks sixth all-time in points with 84. She also scored 24 goals in her career.
Jewell was named the CUSA’s Offensive Player of the Year award in 2010 and was an All-American in 2011. She was a two-time CUSA First Teamer in 2010 and 2011 and made Second Team in 2012. Jewell was also named to the All-Region Team three times (2010-2012), an All-American in 2011, and to the Hermann Award Watch List before the 2012 season.
Jewell was part of UCF’s CUSA Tournament championship in 2012, its CUSA regular season championships in 2009 and 2010 and four NCAA Tournament teams, including an Elite Eight run in 2011.
She finished her career as the first UCF athlete ever to win the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award in 2012. According to her Linkedin, Jewell has been working for one of the organizations she volunteered with while in college, Szuba Guardian Care Solutions, Inc, since 2013.
#22 - Jordan Pingel (Volleyball)
Pingel is UCF’s (2015-2018) all-time leader in digs (2,262) and digs per set (4.72), rewriting the UCF record books for a libero. She holds four of the top five single-season performances for digs, including the single-season record of 597 in 2018.
Pingel was an All-AAC First Team selection, an AVCA All-Region team selection and an All-American honorable mention in 2018, becoming the first All-American libero in program history.
Pingel captained UCF to the first of five consecutive AAC titles in 2018, also enabling the program to host an NCAA Tournament regional and enter the AVCA Top 25 poll, which were both program firsts in the Division I Era.
Nowadays, she is a Community Relations Manager for an MLS team, FC Cincinnati.
T-#21 - Octavious Freeman (Track & Field)
Despite only spending two seasons as a Knight, Octavious Freeman is one of the most decorated UCF track athletes of all time. She advanced to four NCAA Track and Field Championships earning nine All-America honors across five different events.
2012 Indoor: Silver medal in 60-meter dash; Fourth in 200-meter dash. Team got first Top 10 in program history (eighth).
2012 Outdoor: Fifth in 100-meter dash; Fourth in 200-meter dash.
2013 Indoor: Bronze medal in 60-meter dash; Bronze medal in 200-meter dash. Team finish fifth overall (Tied for the best NCAA Championship team finish in program history).
2013 Outdoor: Silver medal in 4x100-meter relay; Silver medal in 100-meter dash; Seventh in 200-meter dash. Team finished fifth overall (Tied for the best NCAA Championship team finish in program history).
Freeman was part of three CUSA championship teams at UCF (2012-2013 Outdoor; 2013 Indoor). Individually, she won six gold medals, four silver medals and one bronze medal in the four CUSA Championships she participated in, competing in the 60-meter dash and 200-meter dash in the indoor season and the 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash, 4x100-meter relay and the 4x400-meter relay in the outdoor season.
She was named the CUSA’s Track Athlete of the Year for the 2012 indoor season, the 2012 Outdoor season and the 2013 outdoor season and the USTFCCA’s South Region Indoor Track Athlete of the Year in 2012. She was also put on the watchlist for the Bowerman Award in 2012 and 2013, which honors the best collegiate track and field athlete.
Freeman ranks second in program history in the 60-meter dash (7.15s) and indoor 200-meter dash (22.72s), only behind her teammate Auriyall Scott in both categories.
In outdoor events, Freeman holds the program record in the 100-meter dash (10.87s), ranks third in program history in the 200-meter dash (22.55s) and tied for 10th in the long jump (6.05m).
As for relays, Freeman was a part of half of the Top 10 fastest 4x100-meter relay times in program history, including the program record (43.15s) that helped the Knights get the silver medal at the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Championships. She is also a part of the eighth-fastest 4x400-meter relay time in program history (3:36.37).
After signing with Adidas in the fall of 2013, Freeman turned professional and has since gone on to win a silver medal at the 2013 IAAF World Championships in the 4x00-meter relay. She also competed in the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials in the 100-meter dash, making it to the semifinals, mirroring her first effort in 2012.
T-#21 - Jackie Coward (Track and Field)
Jackie Coward was one of the first UCF track athletes to advance to an NCAA Championship, helping jump-start the team’s success in the early 2010s. Over her four-year career, she would make seven of them, earning seven All-America honors across three different events.
2009 Indoor: Seventh in 60-meter hurdles
2010 Indoor: 14th in 60-meter hurdles
2010 Outdoor: Fifth in 100-meter hurdles
2011 Indoor: Bronze medal in 60-meter hurdles
2011 Outdoor: Bronze in 100-meter hurdles; part of fourth place 4x100-meter relay team
2012 Indoor: Fifth in 60-meter hurdles; Team got first Top 10 in program history (eighth)
2012 Outdoor: Fourth in 100-meter hurdles
Coward helped the Knights to four CUSA titles (2011 Indoor and 2010-2012 Outdoor). Individually, she won a bronze medal, four silver medals and 10 gold medals in CUSA Championship meets (three each in the 60-meter hurdles, 100-meter hurdles and 400-meter hurdles, plus one as part of the 2011 Indoor 4x400-meter relay team). She was also named the 2011 Indoor and Outdoor CUSA Track Athlete of the Year.
In the program’s indoor record books, Coward ranks second in program history in the 60-meter hurdles (8.02s) and is part of the second and eighth-fastest 4x400-meter relay times (3:36.03 and 3:40.39).
As for outdoor events, she is second in program history in both the 100-meter hurdles (12.81s) and the 400-meter hurdles (57.59s), part of the eighth-fastest 4x100-meter relay time (43.58 s), part of the second and third-fastest shuttle hurdle relay times (53.83s and 54.07s) and part of the third-fastest sprint medley time (3:53.16).
Coward has participated in three U.S. Track and Field Olympic trials (2008, 2012, 2016) during her career. You can check out Jeff Sharon’s story on Coward’s career going into the 2016 trials right here.