Blue Devil Battle

ORLANDO, Fla. ( - After dropping the season opener to No. 9 UNC Friday, the Knights took the pitch at Fetzer Field Sunday for the second time in three days. This time to face a perennial powerhouse in No. 3 Duke.

The Blue Devils jumped out to an early lead with goals in second, 13th and 14th minutes of the game, but the Knights collected themselves and responded. In the 31st minute, junior Saga Frediksson fed a perfect pass to senior striker Cortney O'Connell who found the back of the net on a one-touch off of the Duke goalkeepers' finger tips
"It's unfortunate that we went down so early," head coach Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak said "When you're playing one of the best teams in the country it's tough to dig your way out of a deficit like that. I'm not pleased with how we started the match, but I am pleased with our response. This weekend doesn't hurt us. It stretched us, we've grown a lot and are going to learn from this."

Sophomore goalkeeper Vera Varis kept the Knights alive throughout the second half making several impressive stops. She successfully fended off a penalty kick, seven corners and several set piece attempts, holding the Blue Devils to just the three initial goals.

"Vera came up big for us multiple times," Roberts Sahaydak said. "Julia Ekholm and Saga Fredriksson also had great weekends for us. I think several players really came out their shells and proved that they are fighters."

Tall Task
-No. 3 Duke out-shot the Knights 16-7 scoring three goals in the first 15 minutes
-UCF goalkeeper Vera Varis made 4 saves against 7 shots including stonewalling a Duke penalty kick and subsequent rebound
-Varis also stood tall against a one-on-one a Blue Devil breakaway late in the second half
-The Blue Devils drew seven corners, including five in the second half

-First UCF goal of the season scored by senior Cortney O'Connell with an assist by junior Saga Fredriksson
-Knights managed seven shots by six different players
-The black and gold managed just a single corner kick that came in the second half.
-19 players saw action for the Knights
-Vera Varis (GK), Saga Fredriksson (D) and Julia Ekholm (D) played all 90 minutes

-The Knights return to Orlando, Fla. for the home opener against Massachusetts on Thursday, Aug. 25 at 7 p.m.