The No. 12 UCF women’s soccer team heartily announced the opening of the 2012 season with a 3-1 victory over rival USF on Friday night. With the win, the Knights cruised to their seventh-straight victory over the Bulls.

“Tonight we were creating chances and getting corner kicks and knocking on the door early. The back line and Lianne (Maldonado) did very well even though we didn’t get the shutout,” UCF head coach Amanda Cromwell said. “We knew it was important to start the season off well because we have a lot of tough games on the schedule, and this gives us a lot of confidence going forward. In hearing some of the results around the country tonight, there are some crazy scores, a lot of upsets. This year is going to be one of those years that anyone can beat anybody. We’ve got to be ready to battle a very good Florida Gulf Coast team on Sunday.”

The Knights attacked early and sophomore forward Jennifer Martin was able to capitalize after being taken down inside the box to draw a penalty kick. She found her way past the keeper, putting UCF on the board in the 26th minute for a 1-0 lead.

The Knights came out strong in the second half when Kayla Darden found freshman Taylor Townsend, who left-footed a laser from outside the box into the top left-hand corner of the net to increase UCF’s edge to 2-0 with 30 minutes left.

USF got back into the game with a free kick opportunity when Marsha Harper headed in a goal off an assist from Sharla Passariello with 14 minutes remaining, but UCF junior Ashley Nicol would give the Knights some breathing room with her first career goal with less than eight minutes to go to seal the victory.

“That was a huge goal,” Cromwell said. “Ashley has been working on those free kicks since last year. She bends a nice ball. She was able to put it over the wall, she curved it up and over and got it down near the post. It’s the type of goal you would see on a highlight reel.”

The Knights continue their intrastate road trip to Fort Myers where they will meet reigning Atlantic Sun champion Florida Gulf Coast on Sunday at 1 p.m.

Season tickets are available for UCF’s 11 home games, beginning at $30. This year’s purchase comes with a complimentary soccer scarf to wear to the games. To purchase, call (407) UCF-1000 or visit