The No. 9 UCF women’s soccer team secured its third shutout of the year thanks a 2-0 win over Dartmouth on Friday night at the UCF Soccer Complex. The Knights received an all-around effort from 21 players and saw goalkeepers Lianne Maldonado and Connie Organ keep their cool in the net with a combined seven saves to clinch the win.
“It’s nice to be able to tell them they’re going to split halves, and they both performed really well,” UCF head coach Amanda Cromwell said. “I think some players came in and played really well. I think we were unlucky enough to score a third one with some of the attacking opportunities that we had. I was proud of the kids coming in off the bench.”
With the win, the Knights (4-1-0) handed Dartmouth a loss in its first game of the season, and UCF remained undefeated against Ivy League programs with an all-time record of 5-0.
UCF took a 1-0 lead in the eighth minute when Madison Barney connected with Andrea Rodrigues in the midfield. Rodrigues sent a pass to an awaiting Nicolette Radovcic in front of Dartmouth’s net and she had no problem putting it past keeper Tatiana Saunders for her third goal of the season and second-consecutive game-winner.
Radovcic nearly scored again in the 34th minute off an exchange with Tishia Jewell. Radovcic’s shot was blocked by a Dartmouth defender, and Saunders managed to snatch the ball while kneeling in front of the net.
Maldonado came up with five saves of her own in the first half, including a brilliant deflection near the crossbar five minutes before the break.
Organ started the second half in goal and was tested early as she came up with two saves in the first 15 minutes of play.
The Knights were primed to score again in the 66th minute when Jewell forwarded a pass to a sprinting Radovcic, but she was taken down just before reaching the top of the box. The play set up a free kick for Ashley Nicol, who put one away in the top left corner of the net for her second goal of the season and a 2-0 edge.
“Nicolette had a great attempt before she got tripped. I work on them a lot at practice so this was just another chance for me to make one,” Nicol said. “We all have certain positions where we take our free kick and that’s usually the spot where I take them, so I’m pretty confident from that spot.”
Zoe Hayes, Alex Piercy and Katy Ling all clocked their first minutes of the season.
UCF wraps up its four-game homestand Sunday when it faces Georgia at 2:30 p.m. following the USF-Dartmouth matchup at noon.