UCF Women's Soccer Bows Out of NCAA Tournament

Nov. 16, 2013

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By Jenna Marina

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) - The UCF women's soccer team's school-record unbeaten streak was halted at 18 on Saturday night with its 3-1 loss to St. John's in the NCAA Tournament First Round.

It marked a tough end to an otherwise remarkable year that saw the Knights (16-3-4) go down in history as the first American Athletic Conference champion. UCF, who was nationally ranked for much of the year and owned a No. 3 national seed in the tournament, accumulated its lowest loss total in a single season since 1988.

UCF outshot St. John's, 26-3, but the Red Storm were able to make the most of their limited opportunities while Diana Poulin did her best to keep the Knights from capitalizing on theirs.

"Obviously we're happy with what we accomplished this year, but our ultimate goal was to be in Cary, so we're gutted that our season ended tonight," UCF head coach Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak said.

UCF junior forward Tatiana Coleman put UCF on the board in the 17th minute, capitalizing from roughly 20 yards out to the upper left corner for her 10th goal of the year.

St. John's didn't stay down for long as Rachel Daly found Miranda Haraughty on the left side where she put it away to the far post less than two minutes later.

In the 21st minute, senior Amy Marron fired a shot toward UCF's net, and UCF defender Marissa Diggs jumped to attempt to clear it out of the box with her head. She made contact, but didn't disrupt momentum enough, and it found its way over keeper Lianne Maldonado for an own goal to give the Red Storm a 2-1 lead.

It marked the first time in 682:13 minutes that UCF had trailed an opponent.

The Knights did everything they could to score the equalizer, but it never came.

In the 52nd minute, senior Kristina Trujic fired a ball that Poulin tipped over the crossbar. In the 53rd minute, junior Alex Piercy sent a cross to midfielder Jennifer Martin, whose header was saved. Ten minutes later, Martin's free kick hit the crossbar, and Coleman rebounded it at the top of the box but her shot was snatched.

St. John's deflated the Knights' hopes of a comeback when 2013's NCAA-leading goal scorer Rachel Daly netted her 23rd score of the season in the 65th minute to cap the game, 3-1.

UCF's senior class will go down with some of the most accomplished members in school history.

Maldonado finished her career with a goals-against average .580, besting the school record of .590 set by Karen Richter (1987-90). Defender Ashley Nicol will leave UCF as the school record holder for consecutive starts, overall starts and tied for the mark for games played (94). As an All-American, Diggs helped anchor one of the nation's top defenses for two years in a row.

"Soccer can be a cruel sport sometimes," Roberts Sahaydak said. "Credit to St. John's. Their goalkeeper was amazing tonight. It just didn't go our way but what an honor to coach this team. I'm at a loss for words because when your team does everything that you ask them to do, just sometimes it doesn't go your way."