2009 UCF Women's Soccer - Another Memorable Season

Nov. 18, 2009

By Brian Ormiston

Final Notes in PDF Format

ORLANDO (UCFAthletics.com) - The 2009 senior class made its final season a very memorable one. The seven Knights guided their team to a No. 8 national ranking, a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament and a Conference USA regular-season title.

Along with those accomplishments, UCF (17-5-1) set single-game and season attendance records, defeated some of the best teams in the country and continued to make the college soccer world aware that the Knights are always a major factor on the national scene.

UCF built an impressive resume after going 5-2-1 while playing the second toughest non-conference schedule in Division I, losing only to No. 1 North Carolina and No. 12 South Carolina. But they also defeated No. 4 Florida State and No. 10 Duke.

And with a 10-1-0 league record, the Knights were in line to host the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament, which history shows the host squad has a far better chance at advancing to the Sweet Sixteen than visiting teams. However, geography was used to determine the brackets, and since no unseeded Florida school made the tournament (UCF, FSU and UF were all seeded), UCF was sent packing. The state of Wisconsin had two schools in the dance, so only two teams would have to fly in to the Dairy State instead of three schools having to travel to Orlando.

Although UCF was rewarded a No. 3 seed in the postseason, it really did not give the Knights an advantage as they had to play in very chilly conditions and on a completely different-style field in Wisconsin. They may have gotten past UW-Milwaukee, 3-0, in the First Round, but still could not adjust to the hard field in the Second Round, falling 1-0 to the host Badgers.


UCF - A Staple in the NCAA Tournament
UCF 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.

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 was ranked every week since Sept. 14, and climbed to No. 8 at one point. 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.

All-American vs. The Leading Scorer
It was a perfect match-up in the NCAA First Round as UCF keeper Aline Reis, an All-American as a freshman in 2008, went up against the NCAA's leading scorer in Milwaukee's Sarah Hagen. And in the end, it would be the Knights' netminder who prevailed. Hagen finished with eight total shots and placed four on goal, but Reis was there each time to make the save in the 3-0 victory.

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 Piled 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 went 17-5-1 on the year, and all six of those losses or ties were against teams which made the NCAA Tournament field:
UW-Milwaukee - 11/13 - W, 3-0, Neutral
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
Wisconsin - 11/15 - L, 1-0, Away

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.

Let's Go International
Some notes on UCF's international connections:
-Head coach Amanda Cromwell was a player for the U.S. National Team from 1991-98. She later would be an assistant coach for the U-20 program that won the FIFA World Cup in 2008, as well as an assistant for the U.S. National Team's camp in the winter of 2009 as it prepared for the Algarve Cup

-The 2009 UCF roster includes Brazilians Aline Reis and Andrea Rodrigues (who now calls Florida home), as well as Tiia Tikkanen from Finland and Bianca Joswiak from Germany.

-Reis spent the 2009 summer training with the Brazilian National Team, while Rodrigues was a part of the Brazil U-19 National Team camp.

Coming From All Directions
Of the 22 players who saw action this year, 19 of them posted at least one point, including keeper Lynzee Lee. Also, 15 Knights registered a goal.

Making Them Count
With three this year, senior Courtney Whidden climbed to second in UCF history with 12 career game-winners. Overall, she led all Knights with 11 goals and 27 points in `09. Whidden also ranks in a tie for sixth on the all-time list with 33 career goals.