UCF Women's Soccer Rolls Past Miami, 3-1, in NCAA First Round


Nov. 14, 2008

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Senior Danielle Dos Santos (Campinas, Brazil) scored twice while sophomore Lauren Halbert (Niceville, Fla.) put away the game-winner on a penalty kick as the UCF women's soccer team defeated Miami, 3-1, in the NCAA Tournament First Round Friday in Gainesville. The Knights (14-5-3) will now take on the No. 2 regional seed Florida Gators Sunday at 1 p.m. in the Second Round.

"In the first half we played horrible and found ourselves up 2-1," said head coach Amanda Cromwell, who guided the Knights past the First Round for the second-straight season. "We knew we were going to play better in the first half, so we made some adjustments and played a little more direct in the second half. We were trying to get behind with Danielle, Yvonne George, Courtney Whidden, Amanda Martorana and Hanna Wilde. The attacking thirds picked it up and we're happy to go on to the Second Round."

Dos Santos helped erase an early 1-0 deficit vs. Miami (10-9-3) and added some insurance in the second-half for a two-goal game, giving her a team-high eight tallies on the year. Sophomore Lauren Halbert (Niceville, Fla.) registered her third of the 2008 campaign, picking up the game-winner on a penalty kick in the 38th minute.

"Because I am a senior, as soon as they scored, I didn't want (this season) to be done so I was giving it everything I had," said dos Santos. "(On the first goal) as soon as I saw the ball coming to me, I was ready for it and I knew I was going to get it in. We then went into the locker room and the coaches had a great talk with us. The first half we didn't play our best soccer, but we were still winning. It was now or never, so everyone was trying to play for each other."

Freshman goalkeeper Aline Reis (Campinas, Brazil) accumulated six saves for the victory, three in the first and three more in the second half. Miami did finish with a 14-10 lead in shots, but the Knights had a 7-6 margin in the final frame.

UCF's Brianna Schooley (Coral Springs, Fla.) may have taken the first shot of the match, a header in the fourth minute that was stopped by UM keeper Vikki Alonzo, however it was the Hurricanes who put pressure on the Knights' defense early.

Miami used the opening minutes to set the tone in the first half, and by keeping possession often, found the back of the net 22:00 into the match. Off a left-side throw-in from Lauren Singer, Julianne Rickers had a clear look at the net from near the top of the box and sent a rocket just over Reis' outstretched glove and just under the crossbar.

With UM holding a 6-1 advantage in shots, UCF turned it up and ultimately earned a corner 30:46 into the game. Although the ball was deflected back out of the box on the attempt, Halbert corralled it on the right side and sent another cross. This time it landed right on dos Santos' doorstep and she easily hit the mesh to tie it up at 1-1 in the 32nd minute.

Not satisfied, dos Santos went back to work in the 38th minute. All alone with a Miami defender in the box, dos Santos drew the foul and the penalty-kick try. Taking her first-career regulation PK, Halbert dug in her cleats and put her shot low into the right corner, the opposite way Alonzo had guessed, giving UCF a 2-1 halftime edge.

The Knights realized they could not let Miami come out in the second half the same way as the first, and continued to test the Hurricane defense. Another corner opportunity provided UCF with another scoring chance, but junior Becca Thomas (Burlington, Wash.), who routinely takes corners, was resting on the bench. Freshman Andrea Rodrigues (St. Petersburg, Fla.) took the kick instead in the 65th minute and delivered a perfect ball that went straight off the far left post. The rebound traveled through traffic and dos Santos was in the right spot to tap it home.

With a 3-1 cushion, UCF did not let up. Multiple Knights were getting great looks at the net for goal No. 4 during the final moments, including opportunities by dos Santos as she was searching for her second-career hat trick. Even though the Black and Gold did not convert another goal, the 3-1 lead was all it needed to advance.

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Postgame Notes
UCF (14-5-3) - 3
Miami (10-9-3) - 1
Goals: UM Julianne Rickers (4) 22nd, UCF Danielle Dos Santos (7) 32nd, UCF Lauren Halbert (3) 38th, UCF Danielle Dos Santos (8) 65th
- UCF moved to 7-5 all-time in NCAA Tournament First-Round matches.
- Lauren Halbert's penalty-kick goal in the first half was the Knights' second of the season. Becca Thomas also converted a chance at Pacific, a 1-0 UCF win Sept. 5.
- Halbert's assist on Danielle dos Santos' goal was her second of the year.
- Andrea Rodrigues now has two assists during her freshman season.
- Dos Santos recorded her first multi-goal game of 2008 and her first since she had a hat trick at SMU in 2007.
- Last season, UCF defeated Auburn, 3-1, in the first round. In the win, Thomas scored UCF's first and third goals, similar to dos Santos Friday.
- Miami held a 7-3 advantage in corner kicks.
- With six saves, Aline Reis improved her season total to 102, marking the sixth time in program history a UCF keeper amassed at least 100 saves.