UCF Women's Soccer Reaches C-USA Title Match with 1-0 Win Over Rice


Nov. 9, 2007

Final Stats

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EL PASO, Texas (www.ucfathletics.com) - Sophomore Brianna Schooley tallied UCF's lone goal in the second half, and it held up as the top-seeded Knights' women's soccer team defeated No. 5 Rice, 1-0, in the semifinals of the Conference USA Championship Friday in El Paso, Texas. The win moves UCF one step closer to claiming its first league tournament title since raising the Atlantic Sun trophy in 2003.

"This was a great team effort," said head coach Amanda Cromwell. "We had a feeling it was going to take a set play to score against a quality Rice team. Becca Thomas played a great ball in and Brianna was right there to head it in. That was a fantastic play. And both teams had a lot of chances. In the first half, Jennifer Manis had a good save to tip a Rice shot just over the bar, and our team defended very well. We didn't have great possession in the first half, but came out in the second half and created more chances."

The Knights (14-3-3) will now face the winner of the Memphis-UTEP match-up, which was set to take place following the UCF game with Rice. The title match, with the winner securing the league's automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament, will be Sunday at 4 p.m. ET and televised live on CSTV.

Senior goalkeeper Jennifer Manis was stellar in net for the Knights, making eight saves against the Owls (12-7-2), which brought her season total to 105. It also was her third-straight shutout and ninth of the year, which ranks tied for eighth in a UCF single-season history. Hanna Wilde paced the offense as she accounted for seven of UCF's 11 shots in the victory.

Manis was tested throughout the first half and eventually tallied five saves to help the Knights reach halftime in a scoreless tie. The Owls posted a 10-4 edge in shots during the opening session, and each squad earned two corner kicks before the break.

The beginning of the second half proved to be drastically different, as the Knights posted five unanswered shots early on, including three by Wilde. Finally in the 55th minute, UCF connected. On a crossing pass from the foot of Becca Thomas, Schooley was stationed on the far post and headed a perfect ball behind Rice keeper Meghan Erkel for her sixth goal of the season. It also was her fourth game-winner of 2007. For Thomas, the assist brought her season total to 11, which is tied for eighth on the single-season chart.

Manis stepped up again to keep Rice at bay, making three more saves to secure the shutout win, allowing UCF to reach the tournament final.

"We've played every game this year knowing that there is a lot on the line," said Cromwell. "So we have been playing difficult games all season. Our preparation for this week started in our non-conference schedule when we played Florida State, Miami, Penn State, UNLV, Ole Miss and Minnesota. We have the confidence and are ready to win a conference championship. But it will definitely be a tough game."

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