Sept. 13, 2007
ORLANDO, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - Having already faced programs from the Big Ten, Mountain West and Big West, the UCF women's soccer team meets up with two SEC schools this weekend when it travels to Mississippi State Friday at 8 p.m. and Ole Miss Sunday at 2 p.m. Through the first two weeks of the season, the Knights carry a 3-1-0 record, their best start since the 2003 campaign when UCF also went 3-1-0 for the first four matches.
UCF rides a lot of momentum into its trip to the Magnolia State. The Black and Gold defeated UNLV, 2-1, and UC Davis, 3-0, to win the UCF Invitational last weekend and is ranked ninth in the Southeast Region. So far, the Knights have outscored opponents, 7-3, and have 29 shots on goal compared to giving up just 21. Sophomore Courtney Whidden (Palm Harbor, Fla.) leads the team with three goals for six points, while classmates Becca Thomas (Burlington, Wash.) and Yvonne George (Winter Springs, Fla.) have three points each off a goal and two assists. Taking the reigns in net, senior Jennifer Manis (Pensacola, Fla.) holds a 0.78 goals-against average with 18 saves.
The Knights also claim the Conference USA Players of the Week after their undefeated performance at the UCF Invitational. George was tabbed with the offensive award for scoring the game-winner vs. UC Davis and adding an assist against UNLV. Senior Kelsey Kravec (Sarasota, Fla.) earned defensive honors by helping the backs limit both opponents to just one goal on the weekend, including a shutout against the Aggies.
UCF has never faced MSU, and in its only meeting with Ole Miss, the Rebels came away with a 2-0 victory in 2005 at the UCF Invitational.
Mississippi State opened the year with a 2-0-0 record by winning both of its matches at the Samford Barber's Invitational in Birmingham, Ala., defeating Kennesaw State and Georgia Southern by identical 2-1 scores. However, the Bulldogs dropped a 2-1 decision to Western Kentucky and a 5-4 match to Middle Tennessee State at the MTSU Tournament a week ago.
MSU is averaging close to 20 shots per game and has a 24-10 advantage in the corner-kick department. Its offense is led by senior Treena Ferguson, who has collected four goals and a pair of helpers for 10 points. She also has 24 shots to her credit and one game-winner. Sophomore keeper Taryn Holland has made 25 saves in goal and owns a 2.05 GAA.
Mississippi, which is receiving votes in the Central Region rankings, will host Rice before facing UCF Sunday. With a 1-0-2 record, Ole Miss tied USF, 0-0, to kick-off 2007, defeated Southern Miss, 4-0, and fell to UAB, 1-0. The Rebels' match vs. USM opened a stretch of six-straight contests vs. C-USA programs as they also battle Memphis and Colorado College (member of C-USA for women's soccer) before the SEC season begins.
With four goals on the year, junior Amanda Verkin paces Ole Miss after notching two tallies vs. Southern Miss. And junior Megan Vickery has played all 310 minutes in goal, giving up just one goal for a 0.29 GAA and a .933 save percentage.
To access live stats for both matches, check out www.ucfathletics.com for the appropriate links.
And for the latest news and information on the Knights, tickets or apparel log on to www.ucfathletics.com - the official site for UCF varsity sports. Also check out UCFPhotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.