This past two weeks of UCF Knights saw two more teams’ spring seasons get underway, one team putting its AAC struggles on reprieve, and another team getting an early-season statement win.
Plus, we name the Knight of the Week and your Knights Play of the Week in your Knight Cap for Friday, February 10, 2023.
Campbell Transfer Makes History For UCF Women’s Golf
The UCF Women’s Golf team teed off its spring season this week with its home tournament, the UCF Challenge, at Eagle Creek Golf Club.
Grad student Anna Nordfors, a transfer from Campbell, birdied 4 of her last 5 holes to take home the individual victory for the tournament with a program-record 195 (-21). Along the way, she broke the program record for the lowest 18-hole score twice, ultimately lowering it to 63.
Thanks to those achievements, Golfstat ranked her at No. 91 in the nation.
Nordfors is not the only golfer on Golfstat’s radar, however. Senior Tunrada Piddon remains in the Top 20 in the nation but slid from No. 8 to No. 19 after finishing the UCF Challenge at 213 (-3) in a tie for 26th. Additionally, true freshman Pimpisa Sisutham rallied to shoot a bogey-free final round to vault her into a tie for 23rd at 212 (-4), putting her at the No. 164 spot in Golfstat’s rankings.
As a team, the Knights shot an 837 (-27) to finish in 4th place for the tournament, 15 strokes behind the winner, No. 2-ranked Wake Forest. While it broke a program record for the lowest 54-hole team under-par score in program history, it was the 2nd-lowest stroke score in program history. Only the team’s 834 from the Mercedes-Benz Intercollegiate from back in September was better.
For the full results of the UCF Challenge, check out Golfstat.com.
With UCF’s first spring tournament in the books, its rank in Golfstat’s team ranking rises to No. 22 in the nation.
I don't know about you, but we're feelin' 2️⃣2️⃣ pic.twitter.com/S6NElzxmzR— UCF Women's Golf (@UCF_WGolf) February 8, 2023
The Knights will be back in action next week as they travel down to Melbourne for the Moon Golf Invitational from Feb. 19-21.
Women’s Tennis Defeats ASU and LSU
The UCF Women’s Tennis team went 2-1 to wrap up its initial start to its dual-match season.
First, the Knights upset No. 19-ranked Arizona State, 4-2, for the ITA’s Kickoff Weekend, highlighted by a No. 47-ranked Marie Mattel taking down the Sun Devils’ No. 69-ranked Giulia Morlet (6-2, 7-5).
However, UCF would not fair as well in its next ITA Kickoff Weekend matchup against No. 15-ranked Auburn, losing to the Tigers, 4-1. Though, that one point came when unranked sophomore Noel Saidenova took down No. 78-ranked DJ Bennett.
Upon returning home to the USTA National Campus on Sunday, the team’s depth helped them get a 4-3 victory over LSU, with all four points coming from Courts No. 3-6.
In the ITA’s latest singles-player and doubles-pair rankings, Mattel slid back a spot to No. 48 as a singles player while she and Sophia Biolay slot in at No. 34 on the doubles-pair list.
The Knights will be back from their week off to take on FIU at the USTA National Campus on Tuesday.
Men’s Golf’s Spring Season Tees Off
The UCF Men’s Golf team began its spring season with a trip to Ponte Vedra for the John Hayt Collegiate.
The Knights took home a 6th place finish with an 874 (+10), 38 strokes behind the winner in No. 2-ranked Vanderbilt.
Individually, 5th-year senior Luis Carrera led the team with a 215 (-1) to finish in a tie for 14th, making it his 3rd Top 15 finish of the season to this point.
For the full results of the John Hayt Collegiate, check out Golfstat.com.
The Knights will have a couple of more weeks off before traveling out to Las Vegas for the Southern Highlands Collegiate from Feb. 26-28.
Track and Field Heads Back To Gainesville (Twice)
The UCF Track and Field team made a couple of trips to Gainesville for the Alachua County Collegiate Invite and the Celebration Indoor Classic respectively.
Senior Daija Lampkin stood out during these two meets by taking home the gold for the 60-meter dash in the Alachua County Collegiate Invite, before following it up with a 200-meter dash gold and another podium in the 60-meter dash the next week.
In fact, Knights swept the Top 5 of the 200-meter dash at the Celebration Indoor Classic.
As for senior Kaylor Harris, she picked up back-to-back golds in both meet’s 60-meter hurdles events.
While the rest of the team was in Gainesville, a pair of athletes traveled up north to compete in the Crimson Elite Invitational’s pentathlon. Sophomore Holly Cassels turned in the 4th-best pentathlon in program history with 3,615 points, though it was only enough for an 8th-place finish overall. Fellow sophomore Natalia Madison came in 10th with a 3,591-point performance.
FOURTH IN PROGRAM HISTORY‼️— UCF Track & Field/XC (@UCF_Track) February 3, 2023
60m Hurdles: 9.34 (PR)
High Jump: 1.63m (matches PR)
Shot Put: 10.89m (PR)
Long Jump: 5.46m (PR)
800m Run: 2:27.25 (PR)
Holly Cassels is DOMINANT.#ChargeOn pic.twitter.com/ghq93egltd
This weekend, the Knights will be split up once more. The distance runners will be traveling up north this time to compete in the Valentine Invitational hosted by Boston University while the rest of the team is in Clemson, South Carolina for the Tiger Paw Invitational.
These will be the team’s last meets before the AAC Championship.
Men’s Tennis Drop Both ITA Kickoff Matches
The Buckeyes swept the Knights, 4-0.
However, UCF managed to avoid the sweep against fellow AAC team Tulsa. There, the Knights lost 4-1, with true freshman Mehdi Benchakroun taking home the team’s only point with a win over Tulsa’s Callum Gale (6-3, 6-2).
The Knights will hit the road once more to take on Illinois and Nebraska on Friday and Sunday respectively.
Women’s Basketball Ends Losing Streak With Cincy Win
These two games featured the return of forward Ashton Verhulst, who had been out with an injury since November. Across both games, she netted five points and 5 rebounds in 22 minutes of action.
After struggling from beyond the arc against ECU, guard Rachel Ranke managed to go 4-6 from three-point land en route to a 16-point performance in Cincinnati.
With the win over the Bearcats, the Knights avoid relegation to the bottom of the American Athletic Conference Standings. They will be back on Saturday for a 3 p.m. road game against Memphis.
Knight of the Week
Anna Nordfors, Women’s Golf
Every day Anna Nordfors was breaking a program record at the UCF Challenge.
On Day 1, she shot the first round of 64 in program history.
On Day 2, she shot the first round of 63 in program history.
On Day 3, she finished the tournament with the program’s first 195, five strokes less than the previous 54-hole individual record.
What makes that mark more impressive is that she needed to demolish UCF women’s golf record books as she did just to get the individual victory. Nordfors won the tournament by two strokes after birdieing 4 of her last 5 holes.
She becomes the 5th golfer in program history to take home an individual tournament win, joining Kristen Putman, Liz Earley, Ashley Holder, and her teammate, Tunrada Piddon.
Knights Play of the Week
Women’s Tennis’ Sophia Biolay keeps the ball in play