Nov. 15, 2012
Location: Gainesville, Fla.
Stadium: James G. Pressly Stadium
Kickoff: 7 p.m. Friday
Tickets: Call the UAA Ticket Office at (352) 375-4683 ext. 6800
UCF Athletics Social Media Directory
By Jenna Marina
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - When the UCF women's soccer team lined up for its shootout against Miami in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last Friday, former All-American goalkeeper Aline Reis was there watching.
Memories undoubtedly flashed for the alum, who saved UNC's final PK attempt last year in the Sweet 16 to advance the Knights to the Elite Eight for the first time since 1987. Now that UCF is on its way to Gainesville for the second round once again, Reis would give anything for one more chance to compete on the field.
"I had a dream two nights ago that Amanda (Cromwell) came up to me and said eligibility was based on the number of games played, and that I still had one more left," Reis said with a laugh.
Can you blame her?
The Knights will meet Florida at 7 p.m. Friday to play for a berth to Sunday afternoon's Sweet 16, and UCF is hoping for history to repeat itself.
Last year, UCF beat Florida in the second round for the just the second time in the postseason in school history. The Knights went on to top perennial powerhouse North Carolina, which has won 20 NCAA Tournament championships, in penalty kicks.
"That whole weekend was really special because of who we beat and the history behind it - beating Florida in the second round and then the way we beat UNC in PKs and Aline coming up with the big save," head coach Amanda Cromwell said. "Some coaches tell me still that may go down as one of the best weekends ever."
Reis' face still lights up at the mention of UCF's magical run last year, which was encapsulated in a single photo - her diving grab of UNC midfielder Ranee Premji's penalty kick.
Reis said she was so into the moment that she didn't realize the Tar Heels' were trailing in the PK count and had their season on the line. She was just focused on stopping the kick and had a very strong inclination of which way she should dive.
"When I caught that ball - and I couldn't believe I ended up with the ball in my hands - and I looked at the ref and she had her hands up and the game was done, my first reaction was to lift the ball up like it was the championship trophy," Reis said. "When I looked, everyone was running at me. Everyone jumped on top of me and I could not breathe. I thought, great, I just had the greatest moment of my life and now I'm about to die because I can't even breathe."
Reis works with the team now as a director of operations. Although her playing days are over, she gets just as much satisfaction in the team's success as she did when she donned the Black and Gold.
"I'm so proud of the team right now. I was always proud of the teams I played for here, but we look so much better this year than we've looked before. We're playing as a group and we're playing better soccer, and I think everything about this team is better than the past year's team," Reis said. "It's hard for me to say that because part of me wishes I was still playing. But that's our goal, to always improve and be a better team than the year before. I'm happy that I'm still part of it."