No. 17 UCF Women's Soccer Upended in Home Opener

Aug 30, 2013

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By Jenna Marina

ORLANDO, Fla. ( - The No. 17 UCF women's soccer team suffered some heartbreak Friday night as Tennessee rallied in the second half to steal a win at the Knights' home opener.

Down 1-0 at the half, the Volunteers were able to score two goals off free kick opportunities in UCF territory to upend the Knights in the teams' first-ever meeting.

"Their goals were all on set pieces. It's definitely an area where we need to get better based on today," UCF head coach Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak said. "What I told the team was, I'd rather deal with adversity now and get the kinks out and understand what we're made of and learn from our lessons now. It's important to be pushed in that way early on."

The Knights, who clinched two shutouts to start the year, went ahead early in the first half when sophomore Sophie Howard sent the ball from the left side to Jennifer Martin, who was waiting about 20-25 yards out. Her shot connected with the top right corner of the net for her second goal of the season.

UCF had several near-scoring opportunities throughout the rest of the half, potentially none better than senior Ashley Nicol's shot in the 27th minute. She forced Tennessee GK Julie Eckel to make an impressive diving deflection with the shot she sent to the far post after UCF's first corner of the game.

After the break, Tennessee forward Cheyenne Spade was set up with a free kick in the 54th minute from about 25-30 yards out. Her shot to the far post hit Katie Lenz just before sinking to the low corner past UCF keeper Lianne Maldonado to tie the game at 1-1.

The Knights continued to attack and came close on several chances. Freshman Lena Petermann nearly put UCF back on top in the 61st minute when her head found Nicol's pass into the box. Eckel was able to get a hand on the ball and fall on it before junior forward Tatiana Coleman could clean it up.

Minutes later, senior Marissa Diggs' rare shot hit the crossbar, and freshman Kayla Adamek tried to rebound it but Eckel was able to stay in front of it to keep the game even.

The Volunteers were able to draw another foul near UCF's net and capitalized on the opportunity as Spade's cross connected with All-American Hannah Wilkinson for the game-winning goal.

"I think the most important thing (moving forward) is that we don't put our heads down after a loss," Roberts Sahaydak said. "We all take responsibility for the loss. We all lose together, we all win together. The most important thing is mentality. We need to recover, gain our confidence back and be assertive going into Sunday."

UCF travels to No. 3 Florida State on Sunday at 1 p.m. A video stream will not be available, but gametracker will be running live stats.



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