On the eve of its American Athletic Conference semifinal matchup, the UCF women’s soccer team pulled in a major haul of the league’s highest honors Thursday.
For the second year in a row, Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak was named the American’s Coach of the Year. Senior Tatiana Coleman shared Offensive Player of the Year honors with UConn’s Rachel Hill; junior Connie Organ was named Goalkeeper of the Year; and senior Carleigh Williams was lauded as the Defensive Player of the Year.
In addition, the Knights earned a league best eight all-conference team nods. Coleman, Organ and Williams were first-team selections; Ashley Spivey, Jennifer Martin, and Sophie Howard were second-team honorees; and Saga Fredriksson and Hannah DeBose were named to the all-rookie team.
In her second season at the helm of UCF’s program, Roberts Sahaydak guided the Knights to another regular season conference championship. UCF, currently ranked No. 19 in the nation, stands among the top 10 in the country for W-L-T percentage (.842) this year. During the non-conference season, she guided UCF to wins over programs from the Pac-12, ACC, Big 12 and SEC.
Coleman currently sits atop the conference standings for points (33) along with Hill. Earlier this season, she posted a nine-match point scoring streak, tying the school record set in 1995. Her five-game winners this season rank among UCF’s all-time single-season leaders.
Organ owns 12 shutouts this season, good enough for second on UCF’s all-time single-season list. The three-time AAC Goalkeeper of the Week currently ranks sixth in the country for her goals-against average (.423).
Williams earned Defensive Player of the Year roughly one year after suffering a season-ending ACL injury prior to the 2013 AAC Championship. As centerback, she has led her team to 13 shutouts in its 16 wins. Moreover, the Knights have outscored their opponents 27-1 at the UCF Soccer Complex this year.
Spivey (second team) made an immediate impact for the Knights after transferring from Maryland in July. She is the team’s second-leading scorer with eight goals, including the game-winner in UCF’s quarterfinal victory over SMU.
Martin was named to the second team for the second year in a row. She stands as UCF’s third-leading scorer with five goals (three game-winners) and eight assists for 18 points.
Howard was praised for her efforts in the back alongside Williams at centerback. She leads the team in minutes this year and has helped guide the Knights to one of the nation’s best shutout percentages. The German has started in all but one of every match of her three-year career.
As for UCF’s freshmen, Fredriksson has started in 11 of 14 matches as right back for one of the nation’s stingiest defensive units. DeBose, a forward, has started in nine of UCF’s 19 matches this year and has tallied five assists.
UCF meets UConn at 5 p.m. Friday in Tampa at USF’s Corbett Stadium. The winner of Friday’s semifinal will meet either East Carolina or USF in Sunday’s championship at 11 a.m. on ESPNU The victor of the American Championship will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The selection show will air at 4:30 p.m. on ncaa.com on Nov. 10.
The Knights have earned 18 berths to the Big Dance, including an active streak of seven-consecutive appearances.