UCF Hosts SMU, Tulsa in Final Weekend of Regular Season

Oct. 26, 2006

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ORLANDO, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - The UCF women's soccer team is focused on earning its second consecutive league title and the tournament's No. 1 seed when they host No. 15 SMU on Friday, Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. and Tulsa on Sunday, Oct. 29 at 1 p.m. at the UCF Soccer Complex.

With the Conference USA Championship less than a week away, the Golden Knights (10-5-1, 6-1-0 C-USA) are second in the conference standings with 18 points. The Mustangs, meanwhile, own a 14-2-1 overall mark and sit at the top off the league with 21 points thanks to an undefeated 7-0-0 record. Last season, SMU and UCF shared the regular season title, but the Golden Knights earned the No. 1 seed in the tournament due to the tiebreaker.

SMU is the fourth nationally ranked team that the Golden Knights have played this season. After dropping 2-0 decisions at No. 2 Florida State and No. 18 Kansas, UCF handed No. 9 Rice its first loss of the year.

"Playing a ranked team is huge for us on the national level. A win will move us up in the regional rankings, which is important for obtaining an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament," said UCF head coach Amanda Cromwell. "The team played well and showed a lot of confidence in beating a ranked Rice team and I expect that we will show up with that same confidence Friday night."

Senior Roberta Pelarigo (Sao Paulo, Brazil) continues to be the go-to goal scorer for the Golden Knights with eight goals and four assists for 20 points. She has registered at least a point in all but one conference match and has scored in five of the seven league games. Meanwhile, junior Jennifer Manis (Pensacola, Fla./Washington HS) has allowed only five goals and posted a 0.74 goals-against-average (GAA) since the start of the conference campaign.

The Mustangs' attack is led by senior and reigning C-USA Offensive Player of the Week Olivia O'Rear. She has recorded 12 goals and five assists for 29 points. In net, SMU has relied on sophomore Ashley Gunter, who has started all 17 matches and posted a 0.73 overall GAA.

Although Friday marks their first meeting as conference rivals, UCF and SMU have competed four times previously with the Mustangs holding a 3-1 series lead. The last outing was a 4-1 SMU win in 1994.

The match against SMU will be nationally broadcast on tape delay basis by CSTV on Oct. 30 at 8 p.m. ET.

The Golden Knights cap off the regular season against Tulsa (6-10-1, 2-5-0 C-USA) on Sunday. Freshman Megan Cash leads the Golden Hurricane with seven goals and three assists for 17 points, while junior Meredith Hart has posted a 1.21 GAA and made 65 saves in 14 matches.

In a situation similar to the one with SMU, UCF and Tulsa have never met as members of C-USA as their only previous meeting was in 1994 and resulted in a 3-0 UCF victory.

"The C-USA Championship is on the line, so both games are very important," said Cromwell. "If we win both, we repeat as CUSA regular season champs."

Admission to UCF home women's soccer matches during the 2006 season is free courtesy of McDonald's. For the latest news and information on the Golden Knights, tickets or apparel log on to www.ucfathletics.com - the official site for UCF athletics.