Whidden's Early Goals Give No. 20 UCF a 3-1 Win Over UAB


Sept. 25, 2009

Final Stats

Box Score in PDF Format

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - For the third time this year, senior Courtney Whidden (Palm Harbor, Fla.) collected the game-winner as the forward scored twice to help the No. 20 UCF women's soccer team take down UAB, 3-1, Friday in the Conference USA opener. The victory boosted the Knights' record to 6-2-1 on the season, and they remained undefeated at home with a 4-0-0 mark.

It was Whidden's second game this year she tallied two goals, giving her six for the 2009 campaign. She now has 28 career goals, moving her into 11th place on UCF's all-time list. Meanwhile, Whidden's third game-winner of the season pushed her into a tie for second in Knights' history with 12.

Sophomore goalkeeper Aline Reis picked up the win in net, making three saves as UCF outshot UAB (6-3-0), 18-8.

It took only 2:15 of the first half before the Whidden hit the back of the net. Earning a corner kick, senior Becca Thomas played it short to junior Lauren Halbert. She in turn went back to Thomas who fired a ball into the box where Whidden headed just inside the right post for her fifth goal of 2009.

UCF's perfect passing demonstration showed up again in the 12th minute. Junior Christina Petrucco and freshman Nicolette Radovcic pushed the Black and Gold down the field on the right side, and Radovcic delivered a cross to Whidden who was waiting only a few yards in front of the goal. The senior did not have to move far to get a foot on it, and placed it far side from short range.

"We started off awesome, then we let down a bit and they got back in the game," said Whidden, who has already matched her goal output from a year ago. "But my first goal was off a corner kick, the ball got cleared back out to Becca and she found me and I put it in with my head. The second, Nicolette made a great run down the sideline and I popped off a defender. All I had to do was finish."

Although the Knights were controlling the match, it took a crazy goal by UAB to make things very interesting in the second half, where Danielle Blair lifted a shot from approximately 45 yards out that sailed out of Reis' reach and just under the crossbar in the 59th minute.

A red card then put UCF down a player for the last 25 minutes, and the Blazers started to put pressure on the UCF defense. However the back line of senior Emily Maynard, freshman Bianca Joswiak, Petrucco and Halbert would not let UAB get a great angle to shoot at. Eventually with the clock ticking down and Blazer keeper Kate Blankenship moving up towards midfield, senior Yvonne George stole the ball from the netminder and found herself all alone, completing the win with her second goal of the year with six ticks remaining.

"The first 20-25 minutes were phenomenal. They couldn't get out of their end and were on their heels," said head coach Amanda Cromwell. "In the second half we hit the crossbar early and then they had a bazaar goal. We were joking that there's a hole in the top of the net because it looked like it came from straight down. That changed the game. But great job by Yvonne getting out and pressuring the keeper and getting that goal late."

The Knights get right back to work Sunday when they welcome Memphis to town at 1 p.m. The match will be televised by CBS College Sports and broadcast Tuesday at 7 p.m.

For the latest news on the Knights, log on to 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 UCFPhotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.

Postgame Notes
UAB (6-3-0, 0-1-0) - 1
No. 20 UCF (6-2-1, 1-0-0) - 3
Goals: UCF Courtney Whidden (5) 3rd, UCF Courtney Whidden (6) 12th, UAB Danielle Blair (1) 59th, UCF Yvonne George (2) 90th
-Courtney Whidden's goal 2:15 into the match was UCF's quickest of the year, and the fastest since Danielle dos Santos' netted one just 1:37 into a 2-1 victory over Rice in last year's C-USA Tournament.
-UCF amassed eight corner kicks compared to the Blazers' two.
-Yvonne George paced all players with four shots, two of which were on goal.
-With one assist each, Becca Thomas and Nicolette Radovcic are tied for the team lead with three helpers in 2009.
-For Thomas, she now has 24 career assists, which puts her in 11th place on the UCF all-time list.