Dynamic Duo

ORLANDO, Fla. ( - Being part of a young team has come full circle for seniors Linnea Goodman and Brittany Solis.

Back in 2014, Goodman and Solis were two of six freshmen on the youngest team to make the NCAA tournament that season. That squad included just four juniors in its upper-class and helped the Knights win 43 games, advancing to the NCAA Gainesville Regional Final.

Now as seniors, the California natives look to lead a young group that includes nine freshmen to the program's fourth-straight NCAA tournament appearance.

Despite growing up less than 50 miles apart, Goodman, a Long Beach native, and Solis, a West Hills native, did not cross paths until they arrived on campus. The connection between the two was instantaneous and contributed to their success on the field.

The pair have made an impact from the moment they arrived on campus. Solis took ownership of the shortstop position, starting all 223 games she has appeared in as a Knight. Goodman also enjoyed immediate success becoming the No. 2 hitter in the UCF lineup as a freshman and has played in 221 contests in her career.

During their rookie campaign, the team was looking for a fresh start. Outfielder Maddie Schroeder, pitcher Mackenzie Audas, third baseman Farrah Sullivan and second baseman Kahley Novak stepped up to lead the charge to the NCAA Regional Final, and left a pretty big impact.
"They were those people you wanted to play for." Said Solis.
One of those leaders on that 2014 squad was Novak, who now serves as the team's volunteer assistant coach.
"Being freshmen, you don't have a lot of experience," said Novak "But even then, I could tell they were going to step up and be leaders for our team. Seeing the growth in them is really cool. From seeing them be really quiet and shy their freshman year to now being the ones that are leading."
As senior leaders, the younger players beside them on the diamond caused some déjà vu for the duo. Throughout her four seasons, Solis arrived at a conclusion when it comes to leadership – an attribute that she learned from the nine freshmen she met this year.
"Age doesn't define you being a leader." Solis said. "I'm excited for the years to come because of these freshmen. Even though, I won't be here. I'm excited to watch them. I'm really proud of these freshmen for stepping up."

The Knights have notched eight walk-off victories this season. Five of these can be credited to freshmen Kyra Klarkowski, Ali Little, Jazmine Esparza, Tamesha Glover and Autumn Gillespie.
In the circle, Alea White has become the ace of the staff, notching 16 wins thus far in her rookie campaign. Significant contributions have also been made by hurlers Damara Begin and Kamryn Toney, while Aubrey Johnson brings energy to the team with her defense on the infield.
With senior day on the horizon, Goodman and Solis have worked hard on and off the field to leave their own legacy for the team.
"As the years go by, it's being able to uphold what we created along with the standards and all the goals that we set," said Goodman. "Keeping that throughout is something that could impact UCF Softball forever."
Off the field, the dynamic duo has certainly racked up their fair share of accolades. Solis serves as the President of the Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC), while Goodman aids as a team representative. Both positions entail bits of leadership, networking and community outreach.
Solis also represented the Knights on the Homecoming Court in 2016 and will be pursuing a master's degree in the very selective UCF Devos Sports Business Management Program next year. Goodman was named one of the American Advertising Federation's 50 Most Promising Multicultural Student award and attended a conference in New York back in February.

"People will forget what you said; they'll forget what you did, but they'll never forget how you made them feel," said Solis. "That's been my biggest goal. I want people to look back and say I was a good teammate."

Next Up
Following its bye weekend, UCF plays its final home series against UConn, starting with a 5:30 p.m. contest on Friday. The Knights will recognize their four seniors, Manami CalixtoLinnea GoodmanWillow Kalinen and Brittany Solis, following their final game at the UCF Softball Complex on Aril 30 at noon.

For more information about individual game tickets that start at $7, click here.
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