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The Top 18 UCF Games of 2018

Looking back at the best moments of the 2018 calendar year

Shaquem Griffin showed NFL scouts and coaches Thursday that he can do more than sack quarterbacks.

Photo: Derek Warden)
Shaquem Griffin was key to UCF’s victory over Auburn in the 2018 Peach Bowl.
Derek Warden

As we wind down an eventful 2018 for all UCF Knights sports, let’s take a look at our picks for the top 18 games of 2018.

18. Women’s Hoops: UCF 61, Pittsburgh 58

November 7th

UCF Women’s Basketball trailed by as many as 11 points and trailed by six with 5:34 to go in the game before the Knights finished with 13-4 run to pull off the win to open 2018 season at Pitt.

17. Men’s Hoops: UCF 95, Georgia Southern 88

December 11th

B.J. Taylor scored 15 of his career high 35 points in the last 3:58 of the game to lead UCF to a 95-88 win over Georgia Southern. Taylor scored 27 points in the second half to hold off the Eagles. The game also marked where Tacko Fall broke the school career block record.

T-16. Women’s Soccer: UCF 3, Florida 0 (TWICE)

September 10th

You can make the argument that UCF defeated Florida twice in 24 hours. Officially the Knights posted a 3-0 victory over Florida at the UCF Soccer Complex on Monday September 10th.

Originally scheduled to play on Sunday evening, UCF and Florida were forced to restart the entire contest on Monday due to inclement weather in the Orlando area which halted play at halftime when UCF led 3-0.

The Knights took a 1-0 lead into halftime on a penalty kick from Zandy Soree. She added a goal in the 70th minute and Stefanie Sanders tallied another later.

Vera Varis posted her second shutout of the season.

T-16. Men’s Golf NCAA Regionals

May 16

The men’s golf team advanced to the NCAA National Championships for the second straight year as the Knights finished second at NCAA regional championships in Kissimmee after shooting 30-under over the three days.

UCF outperformed seven of the eight ranked teams in the tournament including #5 and top-seeded Vanderbilt, #17 North Carolina, rival and American Athletic Conference foe #20 USF, #29 Kent State, #32 Arizona, #41 Purdue and #44 Colorado State.

Four of the five Knights who competed finished in the top 12 individually. Kyler Tate was tops for UCF with a third place finish and a three-day total of 206 (-10) after putting up a 70 during the final round.

15. Men’s Basketball: UCF 70, Alabama 64

November 29th

UCF BEATS basketball.

Still, behind 24 points from B.J. Taylor, the UCF men’s basketball beat the Crimson Tide for the second consecutive season.

14. Baseball: UCF 5, #26 Oklahoma 4 (14 innings)

May 11th

A Matthew Mika walk-off infield single helped the Knights to a 5-4 win in 14 innings over Oklahoma. The game featured Sooners star Kyler Murray who went 2/5 with a RBI. A few weeks later, Murray would get drafted in the 1st round by the Oakland A’s in the MLB Draft. This past fall, Murray would win the Heisman Trophy becoming the 2nd Heisman Trophy winner to play at UCF in Baseball (Jameis Winston in 2014).

13. Volleyball: UCF 3, #7 USC 1

September 2nd

For the first time since 2011, UCF Volleyball took down a ranked opponent as the Knights knock off No. 7 USC 3-1 at the Bulby Invitational in Gainesville, Florida. UCF was led by Kristina Fisher, who had a game-high 20 kills. Erin Olson had a double-double with 28 assists and 22 digs.

12. Softball: UCF 1, #4 Florida 0

April 11

Behind Alea White ‘s one-hit shutout, the Knights knocked off #4 Florida in front of a record-breaking sellout crowd of 1,236 at the UCF Softball Complex.

Cassady Brewer led the way offensively for the Knights, going 3-for-3 against Aleshia Ocasio. Brewer drove in the lone run of the game, scoring Aubrey Johnson on a single through the right side in the bottom of the 1st.

11. Baseball: #23 UCF 9, #1 Florida 7

March 6th

For the first time in program history, the UCF baseball team knocked off the #1-ranked team in the country as the #23 ranked Knights defeated Florida 9-7 in front of the second-largest crowd ever at John Euliano Park (4,016).

10. 2018 American Conference Rowing Championship

May 12th

The Knights Rowing Team again made history, earning their fourth consecutive American Athletic Conference Championship at Cooper River Park.

UCF became just the second women’s program in The American to win four straight titles in the five-year history of the league, joining UConn Women’s Basketball as the only two squads with four or more conference titles.

9. Women’s Tennis: UCF 4, FIU 3 - NCAA Tournament 1st Round

May 11

For the first time in program history, the UCF women’s tennis team advanced in the NCAA Championship, downing FIU 4-3 at the University of Miami. It came down to Monica Matias on court No. 4 with the match tied 3-3. The senior pushed through for a three-set thriller to keep the Knights’ season alive.

After Matias battled in a tiebreaker in the first set, the Panthers’ Maryna Veksler made it interesting by taking the second. The third set provided plenty of drama, with multiple grueling rallies by both sides. Matias persevered and ultimately clinched, 7-6 (7-4), 1-6, 6-4.

8. Men’s Soccer: #7 UCF 1, Cincinnati 0

November 3rd

Louis Perez scored in the 84th minute to give #9 UCF men’s soccer the American Athletic Conference regular season championship by defeating Cincinnati, 1-0 at the UCF Soccer Complex.

With the win, the Knights hosted The American Conference Tournament for the first time in program history. It was UCF’s first regular season title since 2004 in the A-Sun.

T-7. Volleyball: UCF 3, Cincinnati 2

October 21

Anne-Marie Watson and Kathryn Wesolich both broke the UCF record for block assists in a match with 12 each as the Knights won a showdown of undefeated 1st-place teams in The American in 5 sets over Jordan Thompson and the Bearcats.

The win would prove to be significant not only in the conference but also nationally for the program as 24 hours later, UCF would be ranked in the AVCA Volleyball poll for the first time in program history, checking in at No. 25

T-7. Volleyball: #22 UCF 3, Cincinnati 2

November 9th

In another clash between the top two teams in The American, UCF rallied to win the final two sets to beat the Bearcats in five, winning the 5th set, 15-11. The win extended the Knights’ win streak to 20 matches and brought UCF within one win of clinching a share of the conference title which they would clinch two days later at home when they swept East Carolina.

McKenna Melville led UCF’s offense and defense with 26 kills and 20 digs. Cincinnati’s All-American Jordan Thompson led the way with 31 kills for the Bearcats.

6. Men’s Soccer: UCF 3, Connecticut 2 (2OT) - AAC Semifinals

November 9th

After trailing 2-0 heading into the second half, the 7th-ranked UCF men’s soccer team rallied to score three unanswered goals to win 3-2 in double overtime over the four-seeded UConn Huskies to advance to the American Conference Championship.

Max Stiegwardt netted the game-winning goal, and his first of the season, in the 110th minute off a free kick to propel the Knights to victory. Cal Jennings and Yoni Sorokin each scored in the second half to force overtime.

5. Football: #12 UCF 52, Temple 40

November 2nd

In a game that featured 92 points and 1,300 yards of total offense, No. 9 UCF outlasted Temple 52-40 in front of an ESPN Thursday night audience.

4. Football: #11 UCF 38, #19 Cincinnati 13

November 17th

It was the most memorable day on UCF’s campus as ESPN’s College Gameday was on Memory Mall for the Cincinnati-UCF game. Oh by the way, it was a top 20 match-up between Bearcats and Knights on ABC primetime. UCF put on a show for the national audience.

3. Football: #10 UCF 31, Memphis 30

October 13

UCF came back from a 30-14 deficit to defeat Memphis 31-30 behind a spectacular second-half performance by the defense, the relentless will of McKenzie Milton, and a 4th down call for the ages.

2. 2018 AAC Football Championship Game: #7 UCF 56, Memphis 41

December 1st

The Knights come back from 17 points down to win back-to-back American Athletic Conference Championships and a trip to the Fiesta Bowl.

1. 2018 Peach Bowl: #12 UCF 34, #7 Auburn 27

January 1st

The greatest moment in the history of UCF Athletics came on the first day of 2018, when UCF clinched a perfect 13-0 season and won the Peach Bowl over Auburn.