Facing an undefeated and red-hot No. 19 Arizona State program, the UCF women’s soccer team was once again not intimidated by its opponent in a 5-0 victory over the Sun Devils (6-1-1) Sunday at the Cats Classic Presented by Loews Ventana Canyon Resort in Tucson, Ariz. It was the Knights’ largest non-conference shutout against a school outside of the state of Florida since an 11-0 win against Alabama A&M in 2000.
UCF’s record stretched to 5-2-1 on the season, as it marked the third-straight year that it will enter the Conference USA season with a 5-2-1 record. And all three of those seasons witnessed the Knights play one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the nation. In 2010, the Knights’ two losses came at the hands of top-10 teams while their tie was against Arizona on the Wildcats’ home field this past weekend.
In all, UCF went 3-2-0 this year vs. non-conference teams that reached the 2009 NCAA Tournament.
“We needed a complete 90-minute game and we got that today,” said head coach Amanda Cromwell. “We talked about the mentality of our team after our tie against Arizona, and these players responded. We used every player on the bench because it was so hot, and they all contributed to this victory.
“Aline Reis was great in the air on corners and crosses and had some big saves. Stacie Hubbard didn’t play because of an injury, so Lauren Halbert moved to defensive mid and we ended up having three freshmen and a sophomore on the backline. For them to get that shutout was amazing. And we definitely made our attack a lot more dangerous because it wasn’t predictable today. We lacked rhythm in the attack in certain games this year, but it showed up today.”
Sophomore and Satellite Beach native Tishia Jewell had her first-career multi-goal game, scoring twice in the second half. She also earned an assist to give her a team-high 12 points this year.
The total shots for the match were an even 15-15 (UCF led 11-7 in shots on goal), however Reis racked up seven saves for the second-straight match to earn her 15th-career shutout. That moved her into a tie with Jennifer Manis for eighth on UCF’s all-time shutout list. And those seven saves gave Reis 213 in her three seasons as a Knight, which ranks as the third most ever by a UCF goalkeeper.
After the match, Reis and forward Kim Newsome were named UCF’s tournament MVPs, while the duo joined sophomore back Bianca Joswiak and junior midfielder Katie Jackson on the All-Tournament Team.
The tone of the match was set very early when Newsome notched her third of the year when she took a pass from Kristina Trujic, beat two defenders into the 18 and hit the back of the net in the fifth minute. Looking for the crucial second goal, it eventually game from freshman Katy Ling in the 34th minute. After Halbert sent it over to Katie Bolinsky, the sophomore fired a shot on net that Alyssa Gillmore saved only to have Ling pounce on the rebound for her first-collegiate goal.
Up 2-0 entering the second half, Jewell helped UCF put things away in the 47th minute. Following a cross from Jackson, Jewell volleyed it from inside the keeper’s box to make it 3-0. Just over 21 minutes later, Jewell recorded her second of the afternoon on a rebound as Amanda Martorana’s ball was initially blocked by the keeper.
And the finishing touches came in the 77th minute where Jewell delivered a through ball to Martorana, who slotted it past the keeper to complete the 5-0 victory.
With that 5-2-1 non-conference record, UCF will look ahead to defending its Conference USA regular-season title when the C-USA schedule begins at home against East Carolina Friday at 7 p.m. The Black and Gold will then host Marshall Sunday, Sept. 6, at 1 p.m. on Bright House Sports Network.
“Today was big for our confidence as we go into the C-USA schedule,” said Cromwell. “Beating a ranked team that was undefeated was huge, and knowing we can put together this kind of game where it wasn’t just one player carrying the team will certainly help us for the future.”