ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) – After their best season in program history, the UCF women’s tennis team jumps four spots to No. 19 in the season’s final edition of the Oracle/ITA team rankings.
At the beginning of the year, the Oracle/ITA had UCF as the No. 20 team in the nation. Throughout the season, the Knights had their peaks and valleys in the rankings, climbing as high as No. 18 and falling as far down as No. 30. The No. 18 mark was the highest in program history, breaking the previous mark of No. 19 that was set last season on April 10.
The Knights gained the No. 18 ranking after a win on national television over the Florida Gators for College MatchDay. That ranking will stand as the program’s highest ranking in program history, at least until next season. With a young roster at the beginning of the season, the Knights are now brimming with experience and are beginning to take a turn towards greatness. It wouldn’t be surprising to see UCF open up the 2020 season higher than No. 19 in the rankings.
UCF has been in the Oracle/ITA rankings for 452 days, checking in at No. 36 on February 27, 2018. They picked up their first win in the 452-day streak against No. 25 Michigan on College MatchDay last season. The Knights are 38-7 since the ranked streak began.
Tennis in the state of Florida ran through Orlando, as UCF defeated Florida, Florida State, FIU, Stetson and USF twice. The Black and Gold were the only team from Florida to make it to the sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament. Even though the rankings don’t reflect it with Florida State at No. 15 in the final rankings, UCF proved on the court that they were the best team in Florida by beating the top programs in the state.
UCF played 15 top-75 ranked opponents out of their total 28 matches. They played a few of those teams twice, Tulsa even faced the Knights three times this season. UCF defeated 12 of those top-75 teams during the course of the season, falling only to No. 6 Pepperdine, No. 15 Oklahoma State, No. 27 Northwestern and No. 11 Florida State the first time the two teams met.
On top of being ranked for the entire season as a team, the Knights had three singles players and a doubles pair ranked at some point throughout the season. Valeriya Zeleva made her debut in the first rankings of the season and remained in them all the way through. Ksenia Kuznetsova found her name in the rankings on March 5 and remained in them until season’s end. Marie Mattel made a brief two-week appearance at No. 119 in the middle of the season. UCF’s top doubles pair of Zeleva and Kuznetsova debuted in the first rankings release and carried that momentum all the way into the NCAA Doubles Championships. The final release of the singles and doubles rankings are due to come out on Wednesday.
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