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Knight Cap: History Has Been Made

Plus: Both Soccer Teams begin conference play

Noah Goldberg

This past week of UCF Knights sports saw a couple of other teams begin their fall schedules, the soccer teams begin conference play, and history made.

Plus, we name the Knights of the Week and the Knights Play of the Week in your latest Knight Cap for Thursday, September 22nd, 2022.

Volleyball ranked for first time since 2018

For the first time since 2018, the UCF Volleyball team was ranked in the Top 25 of the AVCA Coaches Poll at the No. 25 spot.

The ranking comes off the heels of the Knights going 3-0 at the Jayhawk Classic Invitational, which included a 3-0 sweep of the (at the time) No. 23-ranked Kansas Jayhawks.

In addition to leading Division I in hitting percentage at .319, UCF also joins Towson, Valparaiso, Auburn, Penn State, and Texas as the only six undefeated teams remaining this season.

The Knights begin conference play on the road this weekend, traveling Memphis on Friday at 7 p.m. and then heading to Dallas at 2 p.m. on Sunday to take on SMU.

Men’s Soccer routs Temple to open AAC play

Men’s Soccer opened conference play on Saturday by thumping Temple, 4-0.

Lucca Dourado was responsible for half of the goals scored that night. The first was in the 27th minute with assists from Gino Vivi and Maël Haise:

The second came in the 85th minute with assists from Kevin Andrews and Mauricio Villalobos. Dourado now has five goals on the season and 22 for his career, one goal shy of entering the Top 10 in program history for career goals.

However, both of Dourado’s goals only provided insurance for the team. The scoring got started back in the 13th minute with midfielder Robbie Soronellas scoring his first goal as a Knight since he transferred from North Florida prior to the start of last season. He was assisted by Vivi.

Forward Lucas Mauro also got in the action with a goal right at the 83-minute mark.

UCF is now 4-1 for the season, and is now ranked No. 23 ranking in the United Soccer Coaches poll. This is the first time they have been ranked since 2021.

The Knights’ conference slate continues with a road match against Memphis at 8 p.m. on Saturday.

Women’s Soccer draws both matches on road

Women’s Soccer remains on a four-game winless streak after drawing their two games against Memphis, 0-0, and No. 20-ranked Texas, 2-2.

Goalkeeper Caroline DeLisle set a new season-high with a seven-save performance to keep Memphis scoreless to force the draw. The Knights’ offense, playing without forward Kristen Scott, put just three of their 11 shots on goal.

Scott remained out against Texas, making it three weeks since she last took the pitch.

Unlike the Memphis game though, the Knights tallied a couple of goals.

Just 41 seconds after the Longhorns opened the scoring, Dayana Martin responded with one of her own to equalize:

UCF grabbed the lead in the 67th minute on an own-goal, when Darya Rajaee’s pass was deflected by Texas defender Lauren Lapomarda into the net.

The Knights held the lead until Longhorn forward Trinity Byars got the equalizer in the 86th minute to force the draw.

DeLisle picked up another five saves, putting her at 12 total for the weekend. She was the AAC’s Goalkeeper of the Week for her efforts.

The Knights have this weekend off before returning to action in conference play next Thursday, Sept. 29, at 6 p.m. to host Cincinnati.

Piddon gets individual win for Women’s Golf

Senior Tunrada Piddon adds to her legacy with the UCF Women’s Golf team thanks to an individual victory at the Mercedes-Benz Intercollegiate in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Piddon won the tournament with a 202 (-11), which is the lowest 54-hole to-par score and the second-lowest 54-hole stroke total in program history.

Her performance helped carry the team to a second-place finish at the tournament with an 834 (-18). Even though it was three strokes back of first-place Wake Forest, the team still broke the program record for the lowest 54-hole team score by seven strokes.

This was made possible thanks to three other Knights joining Piddon in the Top 20 overall: sophomore Zoe Allaux and Campbell transfer Anna Nordfors both finished in a tie for 13th at 211 (-3), and true freshman Pimpisa Sisutham was one stroke behind in a tie for 16th at 212 (-1).

The Knights are back in action alongside the men’s golf team in just under two weeks at the Blessings Collegiate Invitational, hosted by Arkansas, from Oct. 3-5.

Men’s Golf, Carrera tee off fall season with win

The Men’s Golf team opened its fall schedule with a commanding victory at the Hartford Hawks Invitational.

The Knights mirrored their performance from last season’s tournament, finishing at 829 (-35) to tie for the second-lowest 54-hole score in program history, 28 strokes better than second-place Towson.

The team also broke the program record for the lowest 18-hole team score with a 266 in the second round.

Fifth-year senior Luis Carrera took the individual victory with a 200 (-16). Carrera tied the lowest individual 54-hole score in program history and became the 10th different male UCF golfer to win a tournament individually.

Carrera shot a second-round 63 to tie for the second-lowest 18-hole score in program history.

Fellow fifth-year senior Johnny Travale came in tied for 2nd after repeating his 205 (-11) score from last year. Along the way, he tied for the 4th-lowest individual 54-hole score in program history.

Junior Egor Eroshenko joined Carrera and Travale under par, finishing with a 215 (-1) in a tie for 12th place. Meanwhile, making their UCF debuts, Arkansas transfer Juan Camilo Vesga and true freshman Chase Haygood both finished with a 217 (+1), tied for 24th.

To see the performances of the rest of the team, click here.

The team will be back in action alongside the women’s golf team in just under two weeks at the Blessings Collegiate Invitational, hosted by Arkansas, from Oct. 3-5.

Cross Country history made in Alabama

History was made as the UCF Cross Country team visited Huntsville, Alabama for the North Alabama Showcase.

Out of just under 400 individual runners, true freshman Isabella Richardson finished in 17th place in the 5K with a 17:12.38, a new personal best, to lead the team. That time not only broke the program’s freshman 5K record by more than 30 seconds, but it was also the 4th-fastest 5K time overall in UCF history.

True freshman Penelope Sosa also achieved a new personal best with a 17:49.01, good enough for 39th.

13 of the Knights’ 14 runners posted new personal bests. The Knights finished in 9th place out of the 40-team field.

The team races next on Sep. 30 at 6:30 p.m. at the Florida Atlantic Invitational in Boca Raton.

Men’s Tennis begins fall season

The UCF Men’s Tennis team kicked off its fall season last weekend at the USTA National Campus with the UCF Fall Sizzler.

The team was split between different independent draws: Red, Orange, Green, and Blue for the Singles matches and Fire and Ice for the doubles pairs.

Both senior Bogdan Pavel and true freshman Mehdi Benchakroun went a perfect 3-0 to take the victories for their respective singles draws.

Pavel and Benchakroun also teamed up for a 1-1 record in doubles play, reaching the semis.

To see the rest of the team’s results in the tournament, check out the brackets on the UCF Athletics website.

As many as five Knights may be back in action in a couple of weeks at the ITA All-Americans tournament from Oct. 1-9, hosted by Tulsa.

In singles play, Benchakroun has been selected for the prequalifying draw, Pavel and senior Lleyton Cronje are listed on the Qualifying Draw Singles Alternate list, and true freshman Emilio Sanchez is listed on the prequalifying singles alternate list.

In the doubles draw, Cronje and Pavel are listed on the main draw alternate list while Benchakroun and sophomore Cooper White are on the qualifying draw alternate list.

Knights of the Week

Isabella Richardson, Cross Country

In just her second official 5K on American soil, New Zealander Isabella Richardson has raised the bar for every true freshman distance runner to come after her.

To put her 17:12.38 time in perspective, if she had finished even just a fourth of a second faster, she would have beaten Sonja Shedden’s 5K time in 2000 for 3rd place on the program’s Top 15 fastest 5Ks list. Other than Shedden, only Anne-Marie Blaney has run faster times, once in 2013 and again in 2016.

Richardson was also tabbed as the AAC’s Athlete of the Week for her efforts.

Tunrada Piddon, Women’s Golf

Piddon’s victory at the Mercedes-Benz Intercollegiate has made its mark on the record books in multiple fashions.

Her winning score, 202 (-11), is now the lowest 54-hole score to par in program history. Though it is also the 2nd-lowest 54-hole stroke score in program history, only beaten out by Piddon herself with her 200 at last season’s Evie Odom Invitational.

Meanwhile, in her second round, Piddon shot the first 64 in program history, making her the sole holder of the lowest 18-hole individual score in program history.

McKenna Melville, Volleyball

Looking at the active kills leaders in the NCAA, none come within the same universe as McKenna Melville.

Melville now has 2,156 kills after playing in 460 college volleyball matches, leading all active players in the NCAA, regardless of division.

Utah Valley’s Kazna Tanuvasa ranks 2nd on the NCAA’s active-player career kills list. She’s played in 463 matches, three more than Melville, yet she still trails her by 465 kills.

At the beginning of her final season, she made history by becoming the 2nd player in UCF Volleyball history to get 2,000 kills. She has continued to make history ever since and there is potential for more to come.

Play of the Week

McKenna MelKILL makes history