Seniors of UCF Women's Soccer Look Forward to the NCAA Tournament

Nov. 12, 2009

By Stephanie Hayes

As the UCF women's soccer team makes it way to Madison, Wis. this weekend to compete in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, there are high expectations for a team who has significantly moved its way up the national rankings over the past season. Now ranked No. 12 nationally and holding a No. 3 seed into the tournament, the Knights will go against their first opponent, UW- Milwaukee, this Friday at 6 p.m. ET.

For the seniors on the team, this is the last shot they have at competing in the NCAA Tournament and this is a fact they are all aware of. However, it is clear that they are focusing their attention on the competition itself and not on the idea that it will be their last.

"I'm excited but anxious," said Yvonne George. "Potentially it could be our last game, but that's not what we're thinking. I just hope everyone's ready to play Friday night."

After falling to Memphis in the title match of the Conference USA Championship in Dallas, the Knights are drawing on that to motivate them even more towards a victory against Milwaukee. The team has been preparing for the tournament by focusing all of their attention on the task at hand, as well concentrating energy on team bonding efforts, little things that they know will make them a stronger opponent.

There is much to look forward to in the NCAA Tournament, but the Knights certainly have a clear goal.

"Winning," said Courtney Whidden. "Getting to the Sweet 16 and beyond. I'm tired of losing in the second round. If we're going to go all the way up to Wisconsin, we better bring home two victories"

Beyond the NCAA tournament, it is clear that the seniors on the team will be taking many valuable experiences away with them from the time they have spent at UCF and as student-athletes.

"It's been awesome to be a part of this program," said Becca Thomas. "The girls that came before us set down a foundation. To carry it to the next level has definitely been awesome. It's been great to be a part of everything." Whidden shared many of the same sentiments.

"I'm proud," she said. "When I started here my freshman year, no one really knew who UCF was. Now we're No. 12 in the nation. I'm just really proud of what this program has done and I'm proud to have been a part of it."

The seniors will also be leaving with the bonds they have created with their team over the course of their career at UCF.

"I've made great friendships," said George. "I've seen myself grow in the past four years. I'm very fortunate to have been a part of this team. I'm really close with a lot of the players and I know it'll stay that way."

Overall, the seniors on the UCF women's soccer team have made quite an impression on this school and are looking to translate that impressive play into victories this weekend at the NCAA Tournament. Their determination and focus, as well as the strong bonds they have as a team, are sure to benefit them as they head into the final run of the season.