No. 23 UCF Ready for SMU in C-USA Semifinals Friday at 7:30 p.m.

Nov. 4, 2010

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By Brian Ormiston

2010 C-USA Championship
Quarterfinals - Wednesday
No. 3 Houston 3, No. 6 Marshall 0
No. 4 SMU 0, No. 5 Rice 0 (SMU advances on PKs, 4-2)

Semifinals - Friday
No. 2 Memphis vs. No. 3 Houston - 5 p.m.
No. 1 UCF vs. No. 4 SMU - 7:30 p.m.

Finals - Sunday
Semifinal winners - 2 p.m. - Live on CBS College Sports

UCF Game Notes in PDF Format

Next Up for UCF
-After earning a first-round bye, No. 23 UCF will face SMU in the semifinals of the Conference USA Championship Friday at 7:30 p.m. at the UCF Soccer Complex. The Knights are serving as the No. 1 seed, while the No. 4 Mustangs are coming off a shootout-win over No. 5 Rice Wednesday.

Previewing SMU
-SMU (11-6-4) played Rice to a 0-0 draw in a very emotional quarterfinal contest before the Mustangs prevailed in a penalty-kick shootout, 4-2. Rice outshot SMU, 19-14, but it was Mustang keeper Courtney Webb who came up big as she posted nine saves and stopped the first two penalty kicks in the shootout.
-The Mustangs have given up more than two goals in a match just twice this year, and they were to the top seeds in the championship this week: No. 1 UCF and No. 2 Memphis.

The Series
-The Knights boast a 6-3-0 record against SMU in the all-time series.
-This will be the first time the two programs will have met in the postseason.
-SMU was in Orlando Oct. 24 but UCF controlled the match, outshooting the Mustangs, 23-6, in a 3-0 win. Kim Newsome scored 1:11 into the match, while Kristina Trujic and Nicolette Radovcic also scored for the Knights.

C-USA Titles
-Since joining C-USA in 2005, UCF has won four regular-season titles in the last six seasons.
-However, the Knights are searching for their first C-USA tournament crown this week. This season marks the first time since 2001 as a member of the Atlantic Sun that UCF is hosting a postseason tournament.

Offensive Outbursts
-UCF ended the regular season by outscoring its opponents, 16-1, in its final four games. That was the most production in a four-game stretch since 2004.
-The 6-0 victory over Southern Miss was UCF's largest shutout win since a 6-0 triumph over Houston in 2008 (those two matches were the only occasions in which the Knights scored six goals in a match since 2005).

Quite an Attack
-UCF lost leading scorers Courtney Whidden, Becca Thomas and Yvonne George from last year's team, so a major question for the Knights entering 2010 was who would step up for the attack.
-The answer was quickly discovered as sophomore Tishia Jewell (10) and senior Kim Newsome (nine) have combined for 19 goals, and UCF has 47 overall. By averaging 2.47 goals-per game, UCF's attack ranks 10th in the nation. That is behind only programs such as North Carolina, Stanford, Virginia and Maryland, and above nationally-ranked schools like Texas A&M, UC Irvine, Florida and Notre Dame.
-The Knights have taken at least 20 shots in four-consecutive matches, including 33 vs. Southern Miss.

What About the Backline?
-For the backline, the Black and Gold has limited opponents to seven shots or less in its last four outings.
-In all, UCF has given up just 24 shots during the current four-match winning streak, and only nine of those attempts were on goal.

It's All About the RPI
-All three top-25 polls have not shown a lot of love for UCF this year, and only Soccer America has the Knights ranked this week (No. 23).
-Thankfully the polls do not determine the field for the NCAA Tournament. The NCAA RPI report is the main tool used by the selection committee, and entering the C-USA Championship, the Knights are No. 18 in the country.
-That puts UCF in a great position to earn its 15th trip to the NCAA Tournament in school history, and its fourth-straight berth to the postseason.
-The No. 18 rating is also on the edge of receiving a national seed. Last season, the Knights were a No. 3 national seed for the first and second rounds.

Leading the Way
-With 10 goals and 12 assists, sophomore forward C-USA Offensive Player of the Year Tishia Jewell has become the fourth-different Knight to post at least 10 goals and 10 assists in the same season. Michelle Akers accomplished the feat twice during her career.
-Jewell ranks third in the nation in assists and 12th with 32 points. She leads C-USA in points and assists. In league games only, Jewell paces all players in goals (six), assists (eight) and points (20).