Nov. 8, 2010
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By Brian Ormiston
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - After another impressive run through the regular season, the UCF women's soccer team has received its fourth-straight at-large berth into the NCAA Tournament as the field of 64 was announced Monday. The Knights (14-4-3) were one of 16 teams in the country to earn a national seed, and will face Fresno State (9-8-5) in the first round Thursday at UCLA.
UCF and Fresno State will play at 8 p.m. PT, and they are joined by the host UCLA Bruins and BYU (who open the day at 5:30 p.m. PT) for the first two rounds. Thursday's winners will meet Saturday at 7 p.m. PT.
"It's nice to be respected again as a nationally seeded team," said head coach Amanda Cromwell. "I think we deserved that from our strength of schedule and how well we played. You never know from the committee what's going to happen, but going to Los Angeles is a bit of a surprise. But anywhere you go it's going to be a quality game against a great opponent, so we're excited to get on a nice surface and play in good weather."
The Knights will be making their 15th trip to the NCAA Tournament, which is the most of any school in the state of Florida. They have reached the Final Four twice including an appearance in the NCAA Finals in 1982 in Orlando.
Meanwhile, UCF's 15 appearances in the postseason are tied for the 14th most in NCAA history.
UCF was honored as a No. 4 national seed, which marks the second-straight season the NCAA awarded the Knights with one of the 16 top seeds in the bracket. However both times the NCAA committee shipped UCF out of the Sunshine State. Last year, the Knights were sent to the chilly conditions and a difficult playing surface at the University of Wisconsin. They got past Milwaukee, 3-0, before suffering a 1-0 loss to the host Badgers in the Second Round. It was the third-consecutive Second Round showing for the Black and Gold.
The Conference USA regular-season champions, UCF has boasted one of the top offenses in the country this year, and the attack was ranked as high as No. 10 in goals per game at the beginning of last week. Led by C-USA Offensive Player of the Year Tishia Jewell, the Black and Gold has outscored opponents 49-19 in 2010. Jewell and Kim Newsome have netted 10 goals apiece, as 14 different players have recorded a goal this season.
On the other side of the pitch, UCF has posted eight shutouts and a 0.87 goals-against average. All-C-USA First Team goalkeeper Aline Reis has five of those shutouts with a 0.98 GAA and a .798 save percentage.
UCF's first-round opponent, Fresno State, is coming off a Western Athletic Conference tournament title, claiming the trophy over top seed San Jose State on penalty kicks Nov. 7. The only time the Knights and Bulldogs met was in Orlando in 2006, which resulted in a 0-0 tie.