Women's Soccer Advances to C-USA Semifinals with a 2-0 Win Over ECU


Nov. 7, 2007

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EL PASO, Texas. (www.ucfathletics.com) - A pair of early goals by sophomore Courtney Whidden proved to be the difference as No. 1 UCF topped No. 8 East Carolina, 2-0, in the first round of the Conference USA Women's Soccer Championships Wednesday in El Paso, Texas. The Knights (13-3-3) now advance to the semifinals where they will meet either No. 4 UAB or No. 5 Rice Friday at 7 p.m. ET.

Live video of UCF's semifinal match will be available online to all-access subscribers to www.ucfathletics.com.

Senior goalkeeper Jennifer Manis demonstrated why she was this year's C-USA Defensive Player of the Year, making six saves en route to posting her eighth shutout of the season, which ranks in a tie for 10th on the UCF single-season list. ECU eventually finished with a 14-7 edge in shots as well as an 8-4 lead in corner kicks.

Whidden's two goals moved her season total to 13, which leads the entire conference. Meanwhile, her five game-winners in 2007 are tied for fifth in Knight history.

Both teams were very conscious of the regular-season meeting in Orlando Oct. 7, where Yvonne George scored the game's only goal with 58 seconds left in double overtime to lift UCF to a 1-0 win. The Knights did not want to get into the same situation Wednesday, hoping to get on the board right away. They did just that.

UCF connected for two first-half goals in the first round vs. the Pirates (9-5-5), even though ECU had not allowed more than two tallies in an entire match all season. In the ninth minute, Whidden found a loose ball just outside the net and put it past Pirate keeper Amber Campbell for the 1-0 lead. Senior Arielle Orr was credited with the assist on what proved to be the game-winning goal.

Only 8:37 later, Whidden returned to provide UCF with some much-needed insurance. As sophomore Nikki Moore sent a ball into the box, Whidden was there to head it off the post and into the net for a 2-0 advantage. It was Moore's sixth assist this year.

East Carolina had a few good looks at the net to begin the second half, amassing 12 shots in the final stanza. But each time Manis and the UCF defense was there to keep the Pirates scoreless, and the Black and Gold hung on for the shutout win.

If the Knights prevail in Friday's semifinals, the title match will be Sunday at 4 p.m. ET and televised live on CSTV.

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