No. 9 Women's Soccer Set for C-USA Semifinals Friday in Dallas

Nov. 5, 2009

By Brian Ormiston

UCF Game Notes in PDF Format

ORLANDO (UCFAthletics.com) - Holding the top seed this weekend, the ninth-ranked Knights get the postseason underway with the Conference USA Championship semifinals against No. 5 seed UAB Friday at 6 p.m. ET. The winner will advance to the finals Sunday at 2 p.m. ET, which airs on CBS College Sports.

To access live video and stats of the match, head to ConferenceUSA.com.

Previewing the Semifinals
Taking down No. 4 seed UTEP by way of penalty kicks in the quarterfinals Wednesday, UAB has gone into overtime in its last four matches, including a win over Memphis. The Blazers are 11-6-3 this year and have an RPI of No. 58. They are led by Tiffini Turpin (5-2--12) and Laura McCalla (4-4--12), while keeper Kate Blankenship came up big in the quarterfinal win and has a 1.14 goals-against average with six shutouts in 2009.

The Series
UCF evened the series at 3-3-1 with a victory over UAB this year. Friday will be the second time the two programs meet up in the postseason, as the Blazers edged the Knights 2-1 in overtime in the opening round of the C-USA Championship in 2006.

Sept. 25, 2009
It certainly has been awhile since UCF and UAB met on the pitch, as the Blazers served as the first C-USA opponent for the Knights this year. Taking on UAB at home Sept. 25, Courtney Whidden gave UCF a 2-0 lead with two early goals before Danielle Blair cut the UAB deficit in half in the 59th minute. But Yvonne George clinched the 3-1 win on a breakaway goal with six seconds remaining. Aline Reis made three saves in net for the win.

Trying Not to Look Ahead
While UCF has plenty of work to do this weekend, it is still in line to at least receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Knights will know their destiny when the field of 64 is announced Monday at 8 p.m. on ESPNews.

UCF has earned an at-large berth the last two seasons, as well as in 2004 as members of the Atlantic Sun.

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. 9 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.

Although UCF has had a lot of success before postseason play, it will be searching for its first C-USA tournament title this weekend. The Black and Gold holds a 4-4 overall record in the C-USA Championship.

Just Moving Along
The Knights have won nine-straight games entering Friday's match, marking the third time in school history they posted a winning streak of at least nine 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.

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.