EL PASO, Texas (UCFAthletics.com) - The No. 20 UCF women's soccer team's 2-0 win over rival and five-time reigning Conference USA champion Memphis could not have been any sweeter in Wednesday's C-USA Tournament quarterfinals at University Field.
With the win, the Knights (15-4-1) topped the Tigers (10-8-1) for the first time in four years. They notched their fifth-straight shutout win and 13th overall, matching the school record for most shutouts in a season held by the 1986 squad. And they inched one step closer to their first C-USA tournament title by advancing to Friday's semifinals against SMU at 9 p.m. ET.
UCF kept the game scoreless in the 5th minute when senior Nicolette Radovcic made a save on the goal line after a Memphis corner.
The Knights drew a corner just before the 15th minute and Andrea Rodrigues lined up on the far side of the field. She sent in a ball that Memphis goalkeeper Christa Strickland punched, but the ball hit the crossbar and bounced in the back of the net for Rodrigues' second goal of the year and the first game-winner of her career.
"All the support you get when you score, it doesn't even hit you that it's your goal - it's a team goal," Rodrigues said. "I'm so proud of everybody's effort. We had the momentum and the flow, so it was a good game."
UCF nearly scored again just before the break when forward Tishia Jewell earned a free kick outside of the box. She drilled a ball to the keeper who bobbled it and Kayla Darden threatened to rebound, but Strickland fell on the ball just in time to keep the score stagnant.
Jewell added an insurance goal in the 59th minute off a free kick from 45 yards out. Jewell simply stood and watched the ball bury into the back corner past a leaping Strickland as her teammates erupted on the sideline beside her.
"It took for my teammates running up to me for it to really hit me that we scored again. And I just thought, we've got this now," Jewell said.
Due to technical difficulties, C-USA's intended webcast of the matches were unable to broadcast but will hopefully air Friday. Archives of Wednesday's quarterfinal match can be found at www.conferenceusa.com.