UCF Women's Soccer NCAA Tournament First Round Game Notes

Nov. 11, 2009

By Brian Ormiston

2009 NCAA Tournament First Round
Madison, Wis. - Friday - 6 p.m. ET
No. 3 Seed UCF (16-4-1) vs. UW-Milwaukee (12-5-3)

UCF Game Notes in PDF Format

NCAA Tournament Central

Ticket Information

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Holding a No. 3 national seed, UCF (ranked No. 12 in the country) will make its 14th appearance in the NCAA Tournament when it meets UW-Milwaukee Friday at 6 p.m. ET in Madison, Wis. If the Knights advance, they will battle either host Wisconsin or Arizona State Sunday at 2 p.m. ET.

Previewing the First Round
UCF and Milwaukee have met three times in the past with the Panthers claiming a win in each match (1997 1-0 OT in Milwaukee, 1998 1-0 in Orlando, 2005 1-0 OT in Orlando). This year, UWM carries a 12-5-3 record, and cruised through the Horizon League with an 8-0-0 record. The Panthers did not give up a goal in two matches in their conference tournament, and are led by Sarah Hagen, who ranks first in the country with 24 goals scored. In net, Jamie Forbes (17 GP) and Leslie Deebach (7 GP) have combined for a 0.97 GAA and 10 shutotus.

Recapping the C-USA Championship
It was a perfect time to score her first goal of 2009 as Lauren Halbert scored off a pass from Becca Thomas on a free kick in the 65th minute to defeat No. 5 seed UAB, 1-0, in the semifinals Nov. 6. The Knights outshot the Blazers, 21-11, in the victory, while keeper Aline Reis posted seven saves for the shutout.

But in the finals, Memphis took down the Knights for the second time this year in a 3-0 victory, scoring all three goals in the second half. UCF did outshoot the Tigers, 15-7, but put just four of those shots on goal.

Visiting America's Dairyland
UCF will be making its fourth trip to the state of Wisconsin. It defeated Wisconsin 1-0 in 1983, but fell to Milwaukee in OT 1-0 in 1997 before dropping a 2-0 decision to UW in the NCAA First Round in 1998.

UCF - A Staple in the NCAA Tournament
UCF has earned an at-large berth in its last four appearances in the NCAA Tournament, including in 2004 as a member of the Atlantic Sun. The Knights have made 14 trips to the dance all-time, which ranks first of all schools in the state of Florida and tied for 15th nationally.

The Black and Gold hosted the first two NCAA College Cups in 1982 and 1983, and advanced to the finals in `82 as well as the Final Four in 1987. That `87 campaign was the last time UCF went further than the Second Round.

Proving Themselves
Without much respect entering the year as UCF was unranked in all three polls, the Knights not only went 5-2-1 outside the league but followed that up with a 10-1-0 mark in Conference USA, tying for the most conference wins in school history (2002).

With a consistent regular-season, UCF has been ranked every week since Sept. 14, and has climbed to No. 12 this week. Its highest ranking in program history was No. 2 when the Black and Gold was the national runner-up in 1982.

C-USA Regular Season Champs
UCF claimed its first outright C-USA regular-season title this year, and its first outright championship since winning the Atlantic Sun Tournament in 2003. But overall, it was the Knights' third regular-season crown in five seasons.

Just Moving Along
The Knights won 10-straight games before suffering a loss in the C-USA Championship title match, marking the second time in school history they posted a winning streak of at least 10 matches. The record was set in 1987 when UCF won 12-straight en route to the NCAA Final Four.

The Awards Keep Piling Up
After receiving several honors during the year, UCF added to its collection when C-USA's coaches voted on the league's postseason awards Nov. 3. Head coach Amanda Cromwell was named the C-USA Coach of the Year, her first of her career, while Nikki Moore, Aline Reis, Becca Thomas and Courtney Whidden were named to the All-C-USA First Team.

Meanwhile, Thomas was voted on as the Midfielder of the Year, and Yvonne George and Bianca Joswiak earned spots on the All-C-USA Third Team. Completing the league's accolades, Joswiak, Nicolette Radovcic and Alex Brandt were tagged for the All-Freshman Team, and Lauren Halbert was an All-Academic Team pick.

The Non-Conference Schedule
Ranked as the second-toughest non-conference schedule in the country, the Knights faced a total of four teams ranked in the top-12 in the nation before C-USA play began, and went 2-2-0 vs. those schools. After falling to No. 1 North Carolina Aug. 28, the Black and Gold bounced back to upend No. 10 Duke two days later.

When No. 4 Florida State came to town Sept. 10, the Knights stunned the Seminoles with a 1-0 overtime victory. To close the non-conference portion of the schedule, UCF suffered a 1-0 loss at then-undefeated No. 12 South Carolina Sept. 18.

Breaking Down UCF's Record
The Knights stand at 16-4-1 on the year, and all five of those losses or ties were against teams which made the NCAA Tournament field:
Florida State - 9/10 - W, 1-0, Home
Duke - 8/30 - W, 3-2, Neutral
LSU - 9/4 - T, 0-0, Neutral
North Carolina - 8/28 - L, 4-0, Away
South Carolina - 9/18 - L, 1-0, Away
Memphis - 9/27 - L, 1-0, Home
Memphis - 11/8 - L, 3-0, Neutral

Setting Attendance Records
A total of 4,601 fans attended home matches this year, setting a school record. That includes a single-game mark of 1,142 fans that came out to watch the Black and Gold upset No. 4 Florida State in overtime Sept. 10. That attendance broke the record set at the 1982 NCAA title match between UCF and North Carolina in Orlando.

On the road, the Knights have played in front of two other crowds of 1,000 or more. A reported 1,000 people were on hand for the UCF-UNC matchup Aug. 28, while South Carolina drew 1,424 fans for its home tilt vs. the Knights. That crowd was the third-largest in USC's Stone Stadium history.