Whidden's Late Goal Lifts UCF Women's Soccer to 3-2 Win at Mississippi State


Sept. 14, 2007

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STARKVILLE, Miss. (www.ucfathletics.com) - In a wild second half in Starkville, Miss., the UCF women's soccer team found a way to squeak past Mississippi State Friday, 3-2, to improve its record to 4-1-0 for the season. Sophomore Courtney Whidden (Palm Harbor, Fla.) collected two goals for the Knights, including the game-winner in the 87th minute as the Black and Gold never trailed in the match.

"Even though we didn't play our best tonight, we found a way to win and that's a sign of a special team," said head coach Amanda Cromwell. "It's a good win because it was a pressurized environment with a lot of energy. It also was very physical and a little chaotic. We just muscled through it and came away with the victory."

Whidden and classmates Nikki Moore (Virginia Beach, Va.) and Becca Thomas (Burlington, Wash.) proved to be the spark UCF needed in order for the Knights to obtain their third-straight victory. Whidden's two tallies vs. the Bulldogs (2-2-0) gave her five goals through the first five games of 2007. In 16 matches as a freshman, she finished with three goals. Meanwhile, Moore, a back who was voted onto the Conference USA All-Second Team at defense a year ago, notched her first collegiate goal and added an assist in the win, and Thomas recorded a pair of assists as well.

With seven total shots in the first half, UCF earned a couple of good scoring opportunities vs. the Bulldogs. The Knights' first three shots on goal were all turned aside by goalkeeper Taryn Holland, but they finally got on the board as time was winding down. Off a corner kick set up by Thomas, Whidden found a loose ball in the box and hit the net with just 18 seconds showing until halftime.

UCF was cruising through the second half until Heather Buttrey put MSU on the scoreboard in the 75th minute against Knight keeper senior Jennifer Manis (Pensacola, Fla.). Only 45 seconds later, though, Moore cut towards the middle of the field from the right side and placed a long-distance shot off her left foot in the far corner to retake the lead.

A 2-1 Knight advantage did not hold up when Treena Ferguson scored her fifth goal of the year for Mississippi State in the 85th minute. MSU's momentum would be short-lived again as UCF struck back just 2:02 later. With under four minutes left in regulation, freshman Amanda Martorana (Middleburg, Fla.) was fouled close to the right corner. Thomas took the free kick and sent it towards the box where Whidden gained possession and placed the game-winner past Holland. Along with Thomas, Moore also picked up an assist, as the Knights walked off the pitch with the one-goal victory.

To conclude this weekend's road trip, UCF journeys over to Oxford to take on Ole Miss Sunday at 2 p.m.

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