Paused on Penalties

ORLANDO, Fla. ( - The No. 7/8 UCF women's soccer team fell just short in its bid for the 2017 American Athletic Conference tournament title, falling to second-seeded USF, 5-3, on penalty kicks on Sunday afternoon at the UCF Soccer Complex.

"I know emotionally its hard to lose on a penalty kick, but technically it was a tied game," UCF head coach Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak said. "These players are super resilient, so I have no doubt that they're going to come back and play really well."

Since postseason shootouts are officially entered in the record books as a draw, UCF (13-1-3) extended its unbeaten streak to 16 matches with the result against the Bulls.

After 90 minutes of play, the squads were still scoreless, sending the game to overtime for the second weekend in a row. Two periods of extra time later, UCF and USF were still locked in a 0-0 game. The Bulls came out with a 5-3 advantage on penalty kicks to secure the 2017 tournament title.

A trio of Knights - senior Morgan Ferrara, junior Vera Varis and freshman Stefanie Sanders - were named to the all-tournament team for their performances.

Vera Varis was outstanding for the Knights in goal.

  • Vera Varis made a season-high nine saves to earn her eighth shutout of the season.
  • The Vantaa, Finland native once again lowered her goals against average, dropping it to 0.22 on the season.
  • The junior goalkeeper made key saves early to keep USF off the scoreboard.

UCF is still rolling.

  • The result against the Bulls extended UCF's unbeaten streak to 16 matches.
  • The Knights have not lost a contest since the season opener on Aug. 18
  • UCF's 16-match unbeaten streak is its longest since the 2013 campaign when the Knights posted a school-record 18-match unbeaten streak.

UCF will learn its fate for the NCAA Tournament when the selection show airs on at 4:30 p.m. on Monday. The Knights have positioned themselves well to receive an at-large bid for their 21st appearance in the Big Dance.

Membership to Knights Watch, the official supporters group of UCF Soccer, begins at $15 for students and $50 for fans. Packages include tickets to all home contests for men's and women's soccer, a Knights Watch T-Shirt, a soccer scarf and a variety of free catered tailgates. To become a member, click here.

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