UCF Women's Soccer Headed to American Title Match

Nov. 8, 2013

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By Jenna Marina

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) - Just call UCF women soccer's Allie Gerry clutch.

The sophomore has played in 11 career matches. She's clocked just 97 minutes. But she has delivered two of UCF's most memorable postseason moments - including a berth to Sunday's inaugural American Athletic Conference Championship title game.

After 110 minutes of scoreless play in Friday night's semifinals, the top-seeded Knights (16-2-3) and rival USF (10-4-6) were forced to settle the match in a shootout, bringing back memories of last season's NCAA Tournament first round thriller against Miami.

As UCF led in penalty kicks, 4-3, the Bulls' Jessica Clark missed the frame, setting up Gerry with the chance to keep the Knights' postseason hopes alive with the fifth and final kick for the second year in a row.

"PKs are one of my favorite things to do," Gerry said gleefully. "Honestly, the way I look at it is I'm just in the right place at the right time. The team did all the work - I didn't play a minute. I'm just fortunate that they trust me to go out there and do my thing."

Just like last year against the Hurricanes, Gerry was engulfed in hugs from her field-rushing teammates after she made good on her attempt to send the Knights to the nationally televised championship final Sunday at noon on their home field.

UCF head coach Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak was beaming with pride in the post-game huddle as she congratulated her team.

"This is what we came here to do. We're at home - it's the perfect story," Roberts Sahaydak said in a post-game interview. "It's nerve-racking because you feel like you should [make it to the final] but it's never an easy road. I have to say, USF was awesome. They disrupted us. I'm glad that we got out alive because they did a great job."

UCF controlled possession for much of the first half but couldn't find the back of the net. Just before the 20th minute, midfielder Jennifer Martin forced keeper Christiane Endler to tip an attempt over the crossbar. UCF forward Kristina Trujic also threatened with a laser that Endler dived to save in the 42nd minute.

The Bulls came out of the break amped up and really forced the Knights to battle through the second half. UCF nearly saw some last-minute heroics when Tatiana Coleman dribbled the ball into Bulls territory and passed it back to Martin at the top of the key, but her shot sailed high and the game headed into overtime.

UCF goalkeeper Lianne Maldonado made an early save in the second overtime to keep the Knights in it when Sharla Passariello belted a ball to dead center of the net.

UCF had a golden opportunity with time running out as Coleman drew a foul at the top of the box. Martin's free kick hit the crossbar and the game headed into the shootout.

Martin, Ashley Nicol, Coleman, Trujic and Gerry put it away, 5-3, to afford UCF the opportunity to claim a conference tournament crown on its home field for the first time since 2001.

UCF will face third-seed Rutgers in the championship final. Tickets are available on UCFKnights.com.



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