Bittersweet Battle

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) - An incredible season came to an early end for the No. 8 UCF women's soccer team on Saturday night. The Knights dropped a 1-0 decision to Washington State in the first round of the NCAA tournament at the UCF Soccer Complex.

"I love this team; I love my seniors," UCF head coach Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak said. "I did not want this season to end - ever. I enjoy every minute being together. But I'm proud. I told them that our season is not defined by this one game. They've accomplished so much."

Washington State (10-7-3) went ahead 1-0 in the fifth minute as a misplayed ball found the back of the net.

While not accustomed to facing a deficit, UCF, who made its return to the United Soccer Coaches Top 25 after a year-long absence with a comeback upset of then-No. 4 UNC, continued to attack.

A flurry of shots came to close out the first half, but the Knights were unable to find the equalizer. Junior Vera Varis, who finished the season with a career-best 0.27 goals against average, was solid in goal once again, making key saves to keep the deficit at just one goal.

The Knights came out on the attack in the second half and continued to push. Several members of the Black and Gold had great opportunities, with shots missing the net by just inches. Still searching for the equalizer, UCF increased its pressure, but was still unable to find the back of the net.

As the seconds ticked down, Washington State's goalkeeper, Ella Dederick, and the Cougars defense held on for the victory.

UCF closed its season with a 13-2-3 overall record, the most wins since the 2014 campaign.

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