“Going to UAB and Memphis has always been a tough trip for us so it was great we came away with a win and a tie this weekend,” said head coach Amanda Cromwell. “We’ve now put ourselves in good position to be one of the six teams who qualify for the C-USA tournament on our home field in November.
“But we have a huge home weekend coming up. We host Houston Friday and Rice Sunday and they are both tied for first with 4-0-0 records. You have to give them credit for getting the job done, but we want to be in first place so we have some work to do and we hope our fans come out and support us in one of the biggest weekends of the year.”
The 3-0-1 start in C-USA marks UCF’s best record to open its conference schedule since going 4-0-0 in 2007.
Undefeated in its previous six matches (4-0-2), UCF outshot the Blazers (5-6-1, 1-2-1), 17-9, but 16 of those attempts came in the first half. The Knights also led in corners, 10-2, while keeper Aline Reis posted three saves, highlighted by two in the second half with the home team trailing by one.
Jackson’s performance Sunday marked her first multi-goal game in her career, and the two goals also gave her six for the season to set a career-high (she scored three goals in 2008 and five in 2009).
UAB’s backline had to work right out of the gate against the Knights’ attack. Through the first 13 minutes, UCF racked up seven shots, two of which were saved by keeper Kate Blankenship, two were saved by Blazer defenders and two more were blocked. It was not until the 28th minute where the Black and Gold finally struck for the day’s first goal. Earning her sixth assist of 2010, Tishia Jewell found Newsome in the box who headed in her fifth of the season.
Just less than two minutes later, defender Bianca Joswiak sent a ball over to Jackson right in front for the easy goal to make it 2-0 as Andrea Rodrigues also earned an assist on the play. And to close out the half, a handball by UAB inside the six gave Jackson a penalty-kick chance in the 36th minute and she capitalized to bring the advantage to 3-0.
Even though UCF controlled all of the momentum entering the second half, UAB’s Sam Bradford turned it into a whole new match by scoring two goals in a span of 49 seconds in the 55th and 56th minutes. The Blazers then hoped to find the equalizer, taking five more shots the rest of the match only to have Reis and the UCF defense hold on for the win.
With the first C-USA road trip behind it, UCF returns home to host Houston Friday at 7 p.m. and Rice Sunday, Oct. 10, at 1 p.m.