Whidden, George Each Score Twice in Women's Soccer's 4-2 Win over UTEP


Oct. 19, 2007

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ORLANDO, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - UCF's women's soccer team used an impressive first half to build an early lead vs. UTEP, and it held on for a 4-2 victory at the UCF Soccer Complex Friday. With the win, the Knights remain all alone in first place in Conference USA with a 5-0-0 record, and they are 10-2-2 overall this season.

The win was the Knights' sixth in a row, the longest streak since 2004, and they stayed undefeated at home at 6-0-2. Meanwhile, they are also 6-0-2 in their last eight matches, and their 10 victories mark the seventh-straight season UCF has posted double-digits in the wins column. The Black and Gold set a season-high for shots (36) and shots on goal (17) vs. UTEP (9-5-1, 3-1-0). In the first half alone, UCF had a 21-10 advantage in the shot department.

Senior goalkeeper Jennifer Manis did see her shutout string end at 454:52, which was the longest stretch since 2003 when Julie Snaman went 526:12 without giving up a goal. She was still dominate in net, though, stopping eight shots, including two key UTEP attempts with time winding down in the second half.

Manis also notched an assist on UCF's second goal for her first career point. It was the first time a Knight keeper recorded an assist dating back to 1996 (Alyssa O'Brien).

"The first half was one of our best halves of the year," said head coach Amanda Cromwell. "We had 21 shots in the first half and 12 were on goal. That's a very good attacking presence. I would have loved to have kept the shutout record going, but I had a feeling there was going to be some goals going in. They are a great attacking team and they have some dangerous players."

Both teams entered the match in the top 20 in the country in scoring offense (UTEP 15th, UCF 18th). The Knights quickly demonstrated why they are one of the top offensive teams in Division I, controlling the pressure right away vs. the Miners. It eventually paid off in the third minute. Sophomore Becca Thomas set it up by ripping a shot on goal from the left side, but keeper Jessica Salvi could not handle it and the rebound bounced free near the goal line. Sophomore Courtney Whidden was in a perfect spot and easily connected for her first goal of the night.

Following two saves later in the half, Manis then contributed on the offensive side of the ball. On a goal kick, Manis cranked a pass that sophomore Brianna Schooley headed forward and through the UTEP defense. Sophomore Yvonne George used her speed to trail the ball to the right side, found herself one-on-one with the keeper and beat her to the far side of the net for a 2-0 lead in the 20th minute.

The Knights came close to scoring their third goal, hitting two crossbars and watching freshman Amanda Martorana's breakaway attempt with nine minutes left in the half barely tipped away by Salvi. UCF appeared to be heading into halftime with a 2-0 cushion, but in the 40th minute, UTEP finally got on the board. Cortney Casey sent a crossing pass into the box that was tipped to Lauren Hamson, who hit the net to make it 2-1.

The pace in the first few minutes of the second half was a bit slower, however UCF was still earning scoring chances. More than midway through the frame, the Knights finally put the game out of reach. In the 71st minute, junior Hanna Wilde sent a pass to the top of the box for Schooley, who in turn delivered a short pass to Whidden. From about 13 yards out, Whidden's shot clanked off the left post and bounced into the net for goal No. 10 this year.

Just 2:15 later, George collected her eighth goal of 2007 by taking a pass in the box from sophomore Nikki Moore and sending it past Salvi. The Miners were able to score in the 86th minute, but the Knights managed to keep them at bay the rest of the way to seal the win.

UCF closes out the weekend by hosting Colorado College Sunday at noon. The match will be the first of a doubleheader at the UCF Soccer Complex, as the men's team takes on Tulsa at approximately 2:30 p.m. Admission to both games is free.

For the latest news and information on the Knights, tickets or apparel log on to www.ucfathletics.com - the official site for UCF varsity sports. Also check out UCFPhotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.