Women's Soccer Shoots for C-USA Title on Senior Night Friday

Oct. 31, 2007

ORLANDO, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - The UCF women's soccer team will have the luxury of closing out the regular season at home when it hosts Southern Miss in the 2007 finale Friday at 7 p.m. The match marks senior night as five Knights will be honored before the opening whistle, and it also will play a large role in determining the final standings in Conference USA.

UCF currently owns sole possession of first place in C-USA with a 6-1-1 record for 19 points (11-3-3 overall). A win over the sixth-place Golden Eagles (8-9-0, 4-4-0) would guarantee the Knights of at least a share of the regular-season title. In the first two seasons in the league, UCF was co-champions in 2005 and finished in second place in 2006.

The Black and Gold has a three-point lead on Memphis (12-3-1, 5-1-1), which has two matches remaining. However, the Knights defeated the Tigers in double overtime, 2-1, Oct. 28. In case the two squads finish tied for first, they would split the regular-season crown but UCF would earn the top seed for the postseason tournament.

A total of eight teams qualify for the C-USA Championship Nov. 7-11 in El Paso, Texas, and so far UCF, Memphis, Colorado College, Rice, UTEP, UAB and Southern Miss have all clinched spots. East Carolina or SMU will receive the other berth, but ECU has 11 points with two league matches left while the Mustangs have nine points and just one C-USA game on their remaining schedule.

UCF seniors Kate Begley (Hatfield, Pa.), Kelsey Kravec (Sarasota, Fla.), Jennifer Manis (Pensacola, Fla.), Jessica Newport (Forked River, N.J.) and Arielle Orr (Palm Harbor, Fla.) have all been instrumental in the Knights' success this season, and they will play their final match at the UCF Soccer Complex Friday. They have helped the Black and Gold to a 6-0-3 home record in 2007, and a win or tie Friday would solidify the Knights' first undefeated season at home since 1999 (7-0-0 during regular season, 9-0-0 counting the Atlantic Sun Tournament).

Entering its meeting with Southern Miss, UCF is 26th in the nation in scoring offense, averaging 2.24 goals per game. Sophomore Courtney Whidden, meanwhile, is tied for 31st by posting a .647 GPG average. The forward has a team-high 11 goals on the year, which also ranks first in C-USA. Overall, the Knights already have more goals (38), assists (42) and points (118) than their season totals from 2005 and 2006.

Southern Miss sits in a tie for sixth with UAB with 12 points, and has C-USA wins over Marshall, SMU, UTEP and UAB. Although the Golden Eagles have been outscored 30-19, their goalkeeper, Anna Fiser, has notched four shutouts and 73 saves. Offensively, Sarah McFadden is the lone player in double-figures in the points column, registering five goals and two assists for 12 points.

UCF and Southern Miss have met twice on the pitch, with the Knights claiming a 3-2 overtime decision in 2005 and a 2-1 win last year.

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