Nov. 25, 2011
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By Eric DeSalvo
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF women's soccer team's furious postseason run came to an end Friday night from Spry Stadium as No. 1-seeded Wake Forest advanced to its first-ever trip to the College Cup with a 3-0 victory. The unseeded Knights (13-5-6) closed out the 2011 campaign by making it to the Elite Eight for just the second time in school history.
Head coach Amanda Cromwell is proud of her team's thrilling postseason run that saw them knock off No. 2 Florida and No. 3 North Carolina, respectively, in the second and third rounds of tournament play and receive a multitude of support from former alumni and the Central Florida community.
"I give credit to Wake (Forest) for sure," Cromwell said of the opponent. "They came out firing on all cylinders. Their individual players did some very good things on the ball and created some dangerous chances that you saw. Eight shots on three goals is phenomenal finishing.
"I credit our girls who had such a battling weekend last week. To be here in the Elite Eight was huge and I wish Wake the best of luck," Cromwell added.
For seniors Stacie Hubbard (Jacksonville, Fla.), Katie Jackson (Satellite Beach, Fla.) and Aline Reis (Campinas, Brazil), Friday night's match concluded an exciting run for the three leaders of the team that saw them advance to the postseason in each of their years in the program.
"I can't say enough about (the seniors) and what they did not only this season, but for their career," Cromwell said. "They helped set the tone and culture for everyone else behind them and that is why we are here. The Elite Eight isn't just because of this year, but from the three years before that."
A rematch from Aug. 21 when Wake Forest earned a 1-0 victory in Orlando, the two squads totaled 20 shots in the Elite Eight match with the Knights outshooting the Demon Deacons (18-3-4), 12-8. Juniors Tishia Jewell (Satellite Beach, Fla.) and Andrea Rodrigues (St. Petersburg, Fla.) both blasted four shots with Hubbard and sophomore Marleigh Howard (Destin, Fla.) each taking a pair.
The Demon Deacons broke into the scoring column at the 27:10 mark when Alisha Woodson saved a ball from going out of bounds and eventually found ACC Offensive Player of the Year Katie Stengel for her 19th goal of the season.
Continuing to push the pace, Wake Forest burst into its scoring half as reserve Jordan Ferger dribbled past a couple of UCF defenders and crossed it to Jack McNally who found Kristen Meier for the second Demon Deacon goal of the half.
The strike at the 40:50 mark was the first time in 2011 that the Knights had allowed two goals in the first half of play.
After the halftime, the Knights came out pressing on both sides of the ball as they tried to get back in the match. Wake Forest didn't sit back with the lead in hand as Rachel Nuzzolese blazed down the field from her defensive post to give it up to Marisa Park who fired a rocket from the top of the box to put the home team up 3-0 in the 74th minute.
Demon Deacons goalie Aubrey Bledsoe closed out the match with five saves. Wake Forest will face fellow ACC-foe Duke in next weekend's national semifinal matchup in Kennesaw, Ga.