This past week of UCF Knights sports, both UCF Soccer teams got conference play underway with matches against West Virginia, while Volleyball wrapped up its non-conference slate in West Lafayette, Indiana against a pair of Big Ten Opponents.
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, September 18, 2023.
#5 Men’s Soccer Draws #4 West Virginia, 2-2
This top five battle went the distance. pic.twitter.com/QC9KIDQDMb— UCF Men's Soccer (@UCF_MSoccer) September 16, 2023
The #5-ranked UCF Men’s Soccer team opened conference play Friday night with a 2-2 draw with #4 West Virginia.
A crowd of 1,061 fans descended on the UCF Soccer Complex to witness the first Top 5 matchup, regardless of sport, in UCF’s history. It is the third-highest attendance in program history and the third time in program history had an attendance of 1,000 or more.
After a quick Mountaineer goal opened the contest, forward Lucca Dourado got the Knights on the board to equalize in the 22nd minute, getting assists from midfielder AJ Seals and defender Timothy Arias. It was Dourado’s 32nd goal in his career, tying him for the 6th-most in program history with Matias Pyysalo (2014-2017).
However, West Virginia immediately got back out with a goal a minute later. UCF equalized once more in the 34th minute with a goal from defender Zane Bubb off of a corner kick by midfielder Saku Heiskanen.
Just off Saku's corner kick, Zane scores on a beautifully-placed header! pic.twitter.com/03toxiW9kS— UCF Men's Soccer (@UCF_MSoccer) September 15, 2023
The match went scoreless throughout the entire second half. Over the evening, UCF may have outshot West Virginia, 16-9, but both teams each had six shots on goal.
Goalkeeper Juanvi Munoz picked up four saves on the night for UCF, with half of them coming from back-to-back Mountaineer shots at the end of the first half.
While the Knights remain undefeated (4-0-2, 0-0-1 Sun Belt), the schedule will not get any easier for them as they travel to Huntington, West Virginia for potentially a second consecutive Top 5 matchup with #2 Marshall.
NEXT UP: at #2 Marshall — Saturday, 7:15 p.m. ET
Women’s Soccer gets first Big 12 conference win over WVU
Country roads, send 'em home!— UCF Women's Soccer (@UCF_WSoccer) September 15, 2023
Our first Big 12 conference win ⚔️ pic.twitter.com/QxW8uJFQnn
The UCF Women’s Soccer team opened conference play Thursday night, taking down West Virginia, 4-2.
Like their male counterparts, West Virginia got out ahead early with a goal in the 10th minute. However, the Knights surged later on in the half with a pair of goals in a ten-minute span.
The first came on a one-on-one showdown by forward Dayana Martin after receiving a long pass from midfielder Talia Gabarra, who was credited with the assist.
Our first Big 1️⃣2️⃣ goal in UCF history belongs to Day pic.twitter.com/PFwxcLKHae— UCF Women's Soccer (@UCF_WSoccer) September 14, 2023
Martin would pick up an assist herself on the second goal, along with fellow forward Mia Asenjo. Ellie Moreno sent it into the back of the net for her fifth goal of the season, tying her career-high season goal total from the 2021 season.
Ellie just really loves scoring in O-Town ☀️ pic.twitter.com/eagkXzuym0— UCF Women's Soccer (@UCF_WSoccer) September 14, 2023
Not to be forgotten, forward Chloe Netzel got one into the top right corner of the net in the 50th minute, with an assist from midfielder Maggie Jenkins, to put the Knights up by two goals.
Despite West Virginia getting one back in the 61st minute, an own goal put them back down two goals, where it would stay for the rest of the contest.
While the Mountaineers had the edge over UCF in shots (14-13), the Knights got more of those shots on goal, 7-4.
The win was the first in conference play for any UCF team in the Big 12 era, elevating the Knights to 5-2 (1-0 Big 12) on the season and putting them on a three-match winning streak.
NEXT UP: at Houston — Thursday night, 8 p.m. | Home vs. Kansas — Sunday, 1 p.m.
Volleyball Splits in Indiana to finish non-conference slate
UCF Volleyball closed their non-conference slate at Purdue, splitting a pair of matches against Big Ten teams in the Boilermaker Challenge.
The Knights received their second loss of the season courtesy of #17 Purdue on Thursday night with a 3-0 sweep. While the Boilermakers kept UCF at arm’s length in the first two sets (25-15 and 25-19), the Knights got out ahead in the third set.
However, Purdue closed the match with a 6-0 run to take the set 25-22, completing the sweep.
Outside hitter Emily Wilson led the team with 10 kills, closely followed by fellow outside hitter Avah Armour with nine. Both Wilson and Armour also picked up 11 digs each in the contest, coming in behind libero Chloe Scheer, who led the way with 14 digs.
The Knights rebounded the next day by beating Illinois in a reverse sweep, 3-2.
Despite hitting percentages in the .130s in the first two sets, the Fighting Illini still only won both sets by four points or fewer (25-21, 25-23).
Avah said wait let me hit it a little harder ♀️— UCF Volleyball (@UCF_Volleyball) September 15, 2023
at least we think so pic.twitter.com/YzRjGGQAVw
The Knights bounced back on the attack for the rest of the match. A .500 hitting percentage got them a 25-15 third set victory and a .414 percentage carried the team to a 25-18 victory in Set 4. UCF closed the match out with a 15-10 win in the fifth set with a .300 hitting percentage. All told, the Knights outkilled Illinois 62-54 and also got the edge in aces, 11-6.
Now 9-2 to finish non-conference play, UCF will be on the road this week to begin Big 12 play with a pair of matches against a familiar foe: fellow ex-AAC mate Cincinnati.
NEXT UP: at Cincinnati — Thursday and Friday, 6 p.m. ET
Knight of the Week
Dayana Martin, Women’s Soccer
For the first time since the season opener, Dayana Martin found the back of the net. However, with her assist on Ellie Moreno’s goal in the 32nd minute, she picked up the team lead with four on the season.
Seven matches into the 2023 season, Martin now sits just one assist away from tying her career-high season assist total from last season, five assists in 18 matches.