Nov. 15, 2009
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By Brian Ormiston
MADISON, Wis. (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF women's soccer team fell one game shy of reaching the Sweet Sixteen, suffering a 1-0 loss to Wisconsin on the Badgers' home field in the NCAA Tournament Second Round Sunday. The Knights closed out their 2009 season with a 17-5-1 record, tying for the second-most victories in program history.
"It was not what we expected. We expected to win," said 11th year head coach Amanda Cromwell. "It was a hard-fought game, but this ground is not conducive to our style of play. We try to use the flanks and get in on the endline, and we're usually dangerous on corner kicks and set plays. But in the end we weren't really effective in the attacking third, as far as getting shots off and making their keeper make saves. Their No. 12 (Alev Kelter) in their midfield was very good and No. 16 (Laure Nosbusch) was good up top. At this level it takes one play sometimes."
The loss marked the third-straight season UCF was bounced in the Second Round. It entered the weekend ranked as high as No. 12 in the country and was the third-seed in the Stanford Regional, but was one of three seeded teams shipped away from their home surface for the first two rounds.
"It certainly was a disadvantage to have to travel to Wisconsin and play on a very hard surface. It was great that we were given a national seed, but that really does not mean anything when we get sent out of Orlando and into a cold weather environment. As a seed we deserved to have home field advantage. It's a shame that we, along with UF, have great seasons and earned a top 16 seed for the postseason yet were not at home. It's no mystery why only one team out of 13 top seeds lost at home (LSU tied in the Second Round). And two out of three top seeds lost on the road."
Sophomore keeper Aline Reis had another solid game, posting eight saves against the Badgers (10-5-6). She completed her weekend with 15 saves and allowed just one goal in the two matches in Wisconsin.
UCF earned the first scoring chance of the match eight minutes in, as a UW defender tried to head the ball out of the box but it went off the crossbar. Yvonne George was there for the rebound but her shot was deflected wide. The Badgers then had a pair of opportunities, but saw Reis make a save and a goal get called back due UW being offsides.
The Badgers maintained offensive pressure for the remaining part of the half, and it paid off with just 21 seconds left as UW sent in a cross from the right side and Roxanne Carlson put it barely out of the reach of a diving Reis for the 1-0 lead.
The Knights showed some life as soon as the second half opened, getting two corner kicks but were unable to record a shot from a decent angle. They also would eventually have two more opportunities later in the half only to have a goal called back due to a foul just in front of the keeper, and a play in which UCF brought the ball into the box and could have earned a PK attempt yet it was ruled that the Badger defender knocked the ball away cleanly.
UW hoped to answer the threats when Paige Adams was alone all in the box only to witness Reis make a remarkable kick save. The UCF keeper made another highlight-reel save with just over 20 minutes to go, diving to snag an Erin Jacobsen free kick from the top of the box.
Although Reis was impressive in net, the Badger defense was too much for the UCF forwards as UW held on the rest of the way to advance in the postseason.
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Wisconsin (10-5-6) - 1
UCF (17-5-1) - 0
Goals: UW Roxanne Carlson (1) 45th
-All five of UCF's losses in 2009 were shutout defeats. It was the third 1-0 loss for the Knights.
-UCF ended up with a 6-2 lead in corner kicks.
-Freshman Alex Brandt came off the bench to play 50 minutes and took two shots.
-The Knights reached the Second Round for the third-straight year and for the fourth time since 2004.
-Senior Becca Thomas finished her career ranked fifth all-time with 196 shots as well as fourth with 29 assists at UCF. Meanwhile, senior Courtney Whidden ranked sixth in goals (33), second in game-winners (13) and eighth in points (77).
-The senior class accumulated 57 wins in four years, along with two Conference USA titles and three NCAA Tournament berths. It also achieved UCF's highest national ranking since 1992 when the Knights were No. 8 in the country earlier in 2009.
-Sophomore Aline Reis racked up 82 saves in 2009, tying for the 10th most in UCF single-season history.