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Preview: The Newcomers
August 15, 2018
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ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) – When the No. 16 UCF women’s soccer team officially opens its season on Aug. 19, nearly half of the roster will be new to the Black and Gold.

Between the end of the 2017 campaign and the start of preseason training, head coach Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak added 11 newcomers to its squad, including nine freshmen.

UCF also added experience, bringing in senior Samantha Chung, who joined the Knights after playing the last three seasons at Florida.

“(Samantha) is similar to Madison Murnin, buzzing around in the midfield,” Roberts Sahaydak said. “She’s good on the ball and can keep possession for us. She’s going to have a little bit of a learning curve, just because we might do some things differently. I think we’ve only scratched the surface with her in the exhibitions.”

The Knights are currently without Stefanie Sanders and Dina Orschmann, who are both playing for Germany at the U20 Women’s World Cup. In their absence, Roberts Sahaydak is looking for the person to step into the center forward position.

Freshman Kristen Scott has been a bright spot for the Knights during preseason. The Orlando native opened the scoring against North Florida.

“We’ve been playing Kristen up top in different positions,” Roberts Sahaydak said. “She’s so athletic; she can run defenders down. She really stood out in the North Florida match. We have high expectations for her.”

While she’s earned the starting nod on the back line in both of UCF’s exhibitions, junior transfer Konya Plummer has also seen time as a forward, scoring a goal in each outing this year.

"Konya has already made an immediate impact in our exhibition matches,” Roberts Sahaydak said. “She’s very athletic. She’s scoring goals, causing havoc. She really can play anywhere on the field and make an impact.”

Joining Plummer as an option on the back line is freshman Mathilde Kack. A native of Nanteuil-la-Forêt, France, Kack already had a connection to the Knights prior to arriving in Orlando. She attended the same school as Chloe N’gazi in France.

“We’re getting Mathilde acclimated,” Roberts Sahaydak said. “I expect that she’ll play a strong role for us, even if she doesn’t start right away. We’re putting her next to Maura, working on their partnerships as center backs, which allows us to release Konya.”

After each exhibition, Roberts Sahaydak and associate head coach Tim Sahaydak discussed the bright spots, or anyone who really left a lasting impression.

“One of the freshmen that has really stood out in the exhibitions is Darya Rajaee,” Roberts Sahaydak said. “She’s really had a quiet preseason training. When she got into the matches, it was something I’d never seen before. She played like a veteran."

The Knights host FGCU on Aug. 19 for the season opener at the UCF Soccer Complex. The game is slated for a 6 p.m. start, with the first 200 UCF students receiving a free UCF flag.

DON'T MISS OUT
The UCF women's soccer team is set for its sixth season under head coach Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak and will welcome five teams from the 2017 NCAA Tournament to the UCF Soccer Complex in 2018. Click here or call (407) 823-1000 for ticket information. 

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