De Leon Heads in the Game-Winner in OT to Defeat Memphis, 2-1


Sept. 28, 2008

Final Stats

Box Score in PDF Format

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (UCFAthletics.com) - In a battle of two NCAA Tournament teams from a year ago, the No. 20 UCF women's soccer team erased a 1-0 halftime deficit to defeat Memphis in overtime, 2-1, Sunday in Tennessee. Senior Sarah de Leon (Lakewood, Wash.) headed in the game-winner in the 98th minute to help the Knights capture their first Conference USA win of the year and improve their record to 6-3-1 overall, 1-1-0 in C-USA.

"Sarah hurt her shoulder earlier in the game, but she really wanted to be involved on the corner kick," said head coach Amanda Cromwell. "Katie Jackson sent in a great ball and I was so happy for Sarah that she scored. And it was important to get this win and get our confidence back up for when we play Marshall and ECU at home.

"It was a tough opening C-USA weekend for us. Playing UAB and Memphis on the road are always two difficult games for us. UAB always seems to bring it's `A' game against us. Today our first half wasn't very good, and we were mentally still on our heels when we gave up an early goal. At halftime we knew it was gut-check time and we had to step up to the plate. From that point on we created a lot of chances and they began paying off."

Jackson not only notched the assist on the game-winner vs. Memphis (5-3-1, 1-1-0), she tallied the equalizer in the second half to keep UCF in the match. Defensively, freshman Aline Reis (Campinas, Brazil) finished with five saves, including four in the first half alone. The Knights were outshot 14-10, however they racked up four attempts in overtime while the Tigers were unable to get off a shot in the extra session.

It took only 1:28 for the Tigers to get on the board as Kylie Hayes scored off a pass from Ashley Berra. They carried that lead into the second half, where the Knights finally found their rhythm. Taking an indirect kick in the 54th minute, junior Becca Thomas (Burlington, Wash.) played a short ball to classmate Courtney Whidden (Palm Harbor, Fla.) who had her back to the goal. She was able to make a swift turn and sent in a thru-ball into the 18 were Jackson put it by Elise Kuhar-Pitters to make it 1-1. It was Jackson's second goal of the year.

The Knights did have plenty of chances to take the lead in regulation, and even again in overtime where Thomas saw a shot hit the crossbar. When they secured a corner kick in the 98th minute, the coaches wanted either Jackson or junior Emily Maynard (Munster, Ind.) to take it, and they also had to decide if de Leon should enter the box on the play as well. Once the game plan was mapped out, Jackson's perfect attempt found de Leon, and she headed it into the top left corner for her first goal of the season and first career game-winner.

With the road trip completed, UCF returns home to face Marshall Friday at 7 p.m., followed by an Oct. 5 matchup with East Carolina at 1 p.m. Both matches will be held at the UCF Soccer Complex and admission is free.

For the latest news on the Knights, log on to www.UCFAthletics.com - the official site for UCF varsity sports. The site, which also contains ticket and Golden Knights Club donor information, is also the home of UCF's new online apparel store. Also visit www.UCFPhotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.

Postgame Notes
No. 20 UCF (6-3-1, 1-1-0) - 2
Memphis (5-3-1, 1-1-0) - 1
Goals: MEM Kyle Hayes (2) 2nd, UCF Katie Jackson (2) 54th, UCF Sarah de Leon (1) 98th
-The victory duplicated the 2007 edition at Memphis where the Knights claimed a 2-1 overtime win over the Tigers. Both teams went on to earn a share of the C-USA regular season title, but the Knights eventually secured the No. 1 seed in the C-USA Championship that year.
-UCF is now 1-0-1 in overtime games this year. Its last overtime win before Sunday was the 2007 match at Memphis.
-Freshman Katie Jackson now has two goals and three assists on the year to tie for second on the team with seven points.
-Courtney Whidden's assist in the second half was her first helper of the year.
-Yvonne George finished her afternoon with three shots.
-Along with goalkeeper Aline Reis, Emily Maynard and Christina Petrucco played all 98 minutes.