Whidden's Goal with 2.8 Seconds Left Gives Women's Soccer a 2-2 Tie vs. Miami


Sept. 19, 2007

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ORLANDO, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - In a driving rain storm at the UCF Soccer Complex, sophomore Courtney Whidden (Palm Harbor, Fla.) took advantage of a lucky break and scored the tying goal with 2.8 seconds remaining to tie Miami Wednesday, 2-2. Her goal came after both teams were already starting to walk towards the benches.

As UCF (4-2-1) battled to get possession in its own zone, the Black and Gold used a long pass to inch close to the Miami (3-2-2) goal, where sophomore Amaka Ofuani's (Tallahassee, Fla.) shot was stopped by UM goalkeeper Lauren McAdam. However, the keeper dropped the ball in hopes to run out the clock and as two members of the UCF defense came in to pressure her, McAdam picked the ball back up. The handling foul stopped the clock and allowed UCF to have an indirect kick only a few yards from the goal. With every player situated in the box, sophomore Becca Thomas (Burlington, Wash.) sent a quick pass over to Whidden who cranked the tying goal through the Hurricanes' defense with just 2.8 seconds showing.

"The one thing I liked about the last 15 minutes is that we pushed after they scored," said head coach Amanda Cromwell. "I thought we were digging in and trying to fight for that goal. I had that feeling that we were going to tie it up and their keeper made a mistake by picking (the ball) up after she put it on the ground. That was huge, an indirect kick from six yards out. You would think it's a slam dunk like basketball but it's not because you have the whole defense in front of you. Becca was very deceptive by playing it off to Whidden who was kind of hanging out."

While Miami posted 28 shots in the match, senior Jennifer Manis (Pensacola, Fla.) proved to be hard to beat. UCF's keeper finished the tie with 10 saves, all of which came after halftime, including three in the two overtime sessions.

Miami's top scorer, Brittney Steinbruch, provided the Hurricanes with the game's first scoring chance, lacing a 20-yard shot just wide of the left post in the fourth minute. After UCF recorded the first two shots on goal, Steinbruch returned to put Miami on the board. Searching for a hole from about 35-40 yards out, she decided to aim for the net and placed a shot just over Manis' outstretched paw and into the top left corner for a 1-0 lead in the 26th minute.

UCF came right back with the equalizer in the 35th minute. Collecting a pass from sophomore Yvonne George (Winter Springs, Fla.), Thomas kept a shot low from the top of the box that found its way into the left side of the net. It was Thomas' second goal of the year and sixth in her career.

Thomas came close to giving the Knights the lead with 2:09 left in the half, heading a crossing pass in the box that McAdam was able to cover as both programs entered halftime tied at 1-1.

The Hurricanes controlled possession early in the second stanza as they continued to get the ball deep in the UCF zone, and eventually rattled off seven shots on goal. While UM was pestering Manis, George gave UCF its first quality scoring chance of the half with just over 15 minutes to go. Dribbling in from the right side, the sophomore tried to lift a shot over McAdam, but saw it sail high of the crossbar as well.

As the Knights attempted to retake the offensive momentum, Miami's Beverly Goebel supplied the Hurricanes with the lead moments after George's shot. Coming in from the left portion of the pitch, Goebel hit the right side of the net from approximately 15 yards out for a 2-1 UM advantage.

With hope starting to run out, UCF began to move its entire team closer to the UM net in hopes of a late goal. Junior Hanna Wilde (Westlake, Ohio) sent a cross over to senior Arielle Orr (Palm Harbor, Fla.), whose header clanked off the crossbar and Miami was able to clear it away in the 87th minute. It appeared that Orr's header would be UCF's last chance of sending the match into overtime. But Miami's ball handling mistake with just a few ticks left set up Whidden's clutch goal. For Whidden, it was her team-leading sixth of the season.

In the two 10-minute overtime periods, UCF was able to put three shots on net. Even though it did not get the game-winner, the Knights were content to pull out the tie.

UCF continues its five-game homestand Saturday when it attempts to "Pack the House" against No. 11 Florida State. The match with the Seminoles begins at 7 p.m., immediately following the UCF football game vs. Memphis.

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