May 28, 2008
Orlando, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - The UCF softball team made its second appearance in the NCAA Regional Tournament after defeating No. 9 Houston for the C-USA Championship title. The Knights defeated the No. 1 National-seed Florida, 1-0, during at the Regional putting together a season to remember and finishing the 2008 campaign with a program-record 49 wins.
Movin On Up
The Knights made it to the Championship game of the NCAA Regional tournament for the first time in program history following a 7-1 drubbing of Georgia Tech after falling earlier in the day to No. 1 Florida in the teams' first meeting. UCF's three wins are also the most in the NCAA Regional event, posting a 1-2 record in its first appearance in 2005.
Biggest Game on Record
The UCF softball team has won 278 games since its inception in 2002, but No. 278 was monumental. Not only were the Knights facing the No. 1 team in the nation, Florida, for the second time in as many days, but they also came away with a 1-0 win in the NCAA Gainesville Regional Championship game, breaking the Gators' 36-game winning streak and their 41-game winning streak at Katie Seashole Pressly Softball Stadium, while handing Florida only its third loss of 2008.
The Knights stunned the Gators with their stellar defense and an overpowering pitching performance by Allison Kime. The hurler threw a five-hit shutout, her 14th of the season, and drove in the game-winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning at the plate to put the Black and Gold within one win of its first NCAA Super Regional appearance. The meeting with Florida marked the first time in program history that UCF went head-to-head with the top team in the nation, while also marking a win against its highest-ranked opponent.
Lane Puts on a Show
Freshman Tiffany Lane put on a hitting clinic in the Knights' NCAA Gainesville Regional appearance, hitting .533 on the weekend. In UCF's win over Georgia Tech, Lane was 4-for4 with two triples, a double, a RBI and two runs scored and scored the game-winning run in the Knights' legendary win over No. 1 Florida on May 18.
Not Looking Back
Despite falling to USF in both of its previous post-season contests, UCF did not let its history with the Bulls distract it from its goals. The Knights used a two-run game-winning triple from Allison Kime and a solo home run from Hillary Barrow to defeat in-state rival USF, 3-2, in the opening round of the NCAA Gainesville Regional and move on in the winner's bracket for the first time.
Conference USA Champions
The Knights used a two-run home run from freshman Tiffany Lane (Moreno Valley, Calif.) and the stellar pitching of Allison Kime (Brandon, Fla.) to defeat No. 9 Houston, 4-2, in the Conference USA Softball Championship title game and earn their second automatic bid into the NCAA Regional Tournament.
Lane earned tournament MVP honors for her play throughout the tournament, which included a 3-for-4, home run, two run, two RBI performance at the plate in the championship game. Also garnering all-tournament team honors were pitcher Kime, first baseman Breanne Javier (Castiac, Calif.), third baseman Hillary Barrow (Miami, Fla.) and right fielder Marquita Council (Orlando, Fla.).
C-USA Championship Record Books
The Knights made their mark on the C-USA Championship record books on their way to the league-tournament crown, posting a new tournament record for batting average in a series, recording a .342 team clip in the three-game event.
Allison Kime's 24 strikeouts over the weekend were the second-most all-time in a C-USA tournament series, with the record sitting at 25. It also set a program record for Ks in the C-USA Championship, one-upping her 23 strikeouts last season. Also tying for second place in the all-time record books were Tiffany Lane in both hits (7) and total bases (11), and Abby McClain with a pair of doubles.
And the Award Goes to...
The UCF softball team received five All-Conference USA honors in 2008, with redshirt-junior right fielder Marquita Council being named the C-USA Co-Newcomer of the Year.
The Knights had two student-athletes voted onto the All-C-USA teams, as well as having two players named to the all-freshman squad. Senior pitcher Allison Kime and junior first baseman Breanne Javier secured spots on the All-C-USA First Team, while Tiffany Lane and Abby McClain represented UCF on the C-USA All-Freshman squad.
You So Smart
For the second-consecutive season, UCF had two student-athletes named to the Conference USA All-Academic Team, with seniors Ashley Van Ryn and Cat Snapp representing the Knights on the squad. UCF was one of only three squads to have two players voted onto the all-academic team.
In order to secure a spot on the 11-member team, a student-athlete must maintain a 3.2 GPA or higher and must be a starter or key reserve in their second full year at their institution.
During the second-half of their 2008 schedule, the Knights were unbeatable on Sundays, posting a 9-0 record on the day of rest from March 9-May 18, before No. 1 Florida broke the nine-game winning streak in the NCAA Regional final.
Would You Like Some Butter with that Roll?
UCF held a 13-game winning streak from March 15-April 2, its third longest in program history. During the streak, the Knights defeated teams such as Iowa, Tulsa, FAU and Marshall, while outscoring their opponents 67-19.
Over the Hill
The Knights' 43 wins during the regular-season are the second-most in program history, trailing only their 44-17 regular-season mark during the 2002 season. In that inaugural season, the Black and Gold went on to tally a 46-19 record after falling to Georgia State twice in the Atlantic Sun Tournament in Troy, Ala. In 2005, the Knights registered a 41-26-1 record at the end of regular-season play, but went on to win five games, including four-straight, in the A-Sun Tournament to win their first league crown and an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. After going 1-2 at Regionals in Gainesville, Fla., UCF finished the season with 47 wins, a mark that the 2008 squad surpassed with its win over Georgia Tech on May 17.
Allison Kime's 359 strikeouts this season not only broke the UCF single-season record, but also moved the senior to No. 4 all-time on the Conference USA strikeout register with 847 in only three years in the league. Kime led the league in whiffs, with her closest competitor falling 76 Ks short of her mark. The Brandon, Fla., native also ranked first in the Southeast Region in strikeouts, which is made up of 46 teams, including No. 1 Florida, Florida State, South Florida and No. 25 Georgia, to name a few.
Performance to Remember
Allison Kime pitched her way onto the 2008 C-USA Softball Championship All-Tournament Team this season after posting a 1.00 ERA in 21.0 innings of work. The hurler held her opponents to only three earned runs, 14 hits and a .182 batting average, while striking out 24 batters.
Holding her Own Against the Best
Kime had the opportunity to start against Team USA in an exhibition game on Feb. 29, holding the three-time Olympic gold-medalists to only one run on three hits. Kime also tallied six strikeouts in the contest, the most of any pitcher to face the National Team prior to the Knights. In six prior games, Team USA had outscored it opponents 65-0, averaging 10.83 runs per game. Kime held the National Team scoreless through five innings, until a bunt single, a stolen base and a bloop single scored the only run of the game.
After leading her squad to its most successful season on record, Allison Kime was named to the Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-Southeast Region First Team for the second-consecutive year. She is one of only three players from UCF to earn the distinction with Jania Shinhoster and Stephanie Best also making the first team in 2002 and 2003, respectively. Kime also made the squad last season after posting a 0.87 ERA, a mark that ranked fourth nationally.
After winning the Conference USA Championship title May 10 at No. 9 Houston, the UCF softball team continued to receive national recognition, garnering a program-record 14 votes in the USA Today/NFCA Division I Top-25 Poll. The record number of votes placed the Knights at No. 29 in the nation. The votes marked the seventh time this season, and the sixth straight, that the Knights received at least one vote in the poll, after receiving five votes the past two weeks, nine votes April 22, seven votes on April 8 after defeating No. 9 Houston for the first time, two votes on April 15, and also garnering a single vote in the poll on March 25.
Brightest of the Bunch
After four years of hard work on and off the softball field, senior Cat Snapp was named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District III Second Team announced on May 8. Snapp was one of four student-athletes from the state of Florida to make the 12-member all-district second team. Her honor marks the fifth time in program history that a Knight has earned ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District III honors. Stephanie Best was a first-team pick in 2003 and 2004 and was selected to the second team in 2005, while Kacie Feaster was a first-team selection last season.
One Thing Leads to Another
The NFCA/Warren Nolan Division I Softball Ratings Percentage Index was released Monday, with the UCF softball team ranking in at No. 25 in the country, up six spots from last week's poll, where the Black and Gold ranked in at No. 31. The Knights' position was the second-highest, behind Houston (nine), in Conference USA and second-highest among Division I schools in the state of Florida, trailing only the first-place Gators. The index also rated teams on their strength-of-schedule for the 2008 season, with the Knights ranking in at No. 38, jumping 15 spots from its No. 57 mark last week.
Breanne Javier's single to right field in the Knights' 7-1 win over Georgia Tech at the NCAA Gainesville Regional marked her 84th hit of the season and gave her sole possession of first place on the single-season hits register. Javier finished the season with 85 hits. Stephanie Best held the single-season hits record of 83 since 2003. Javier posted 27 multiple-hit games this season and hit safely in 51 of the Knights' 69 total games in 2008.
Surpassing a Milestone
Head coach Renee Luers-Gillispie registered career victory number 500 as the UCF softball team split a doubleheader with Conference USA-foe, UAB, at George Ward Field March 15. The 3-2 victory in the nightcap gave the skipper her milestone win. She currently holds a 530-387-3 career record, while posting a 278-183-1 record at the helm of the UCF squad.
Breanne Javier extended her hitting-streak to a career-high 15 games May 4 in the Knights' series finale with Southern Miss with her single in the first inning. The streak marked the longest in program history. The longest prior to Javier's hot-streak was 14, held by Jania Shinhoster during the 2005 season. Since the streak started on April 5 in the Knights' win over No. 9 Houston, Javier hit .479 with 23 hits, three doubles, 10 RBI, a .542 slugging percentage and a .490 on-base percentage.
Come Out Firing
The Knights held a 20-1 record in 2008 when they scored a run in the first inning and a 39-6 record when beating their opponent to the scoreboard. When UCF held its lead through the sixth inning, it was nearly untouchable, posting a 40-2 mark when holding the lead in the frame.
Setting em Up to Knock em Down
The Knights beat or matched 48 total program and league game, single-season and career records during the 2008 season, including nineteen by Kime, nine by Javier, seven by Lane, four by Barrow and one each from Snapp, Council and Gresham. The squad also added six team records to their total during the season, which included the most wins in a season (49) and the highest team-batting average during the C-USA Championship (.342).
Making a Mark
Hillary Barrow, Allison Kime and Tiffany Lane all hold top-10 NCAA statistical marks as of May 18, with Barrow leading the threesome with a No. 7 ranking in sacrifice flies (5), while Kime's 34 victories rank in at No. 8 nationally. Lane rounds out the pack with a No. 9 ranking with seven triples on the season.
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