Women's Soccer Set For First Round

Match Notes

ORLANDO – It will be 1,826 days on Saturday since the UCF women's soccer team last walked on the pitch before competing in the NCAA tournament. The 2017 squad, which fell to Washington State in the first round, is gone, preceded by a group of freshmen such as Kristen Scott and Darya Rajaee the next year. Now five seasons later, the Knights are back on the big stage as they travel to Raleigh to face North Carolina State at the Dail Soccer Field. First-kick is set for Noon.
The Black and Gold have been firing on all cylinders in 2022, having one of the best attacks in the nation led by the AAC Offensive Player of the Year Scott, and a solid back four in front of AAC Goalkeeper of the Year, Caroline DeLisle. The Knights went undefeated in conference play, a testament to the group's consistency, having won seven in a row since a two-all draw in Austin against Texas back in September. 
UCF was edged out on penalties versus eventual AAC Tournament Champion Memphis last time out, though the full-time one-all draw means the Knights have yet to lose a match since their 2-1 defeat at the nation's number two, North Carolina. Coach Roberts Sahaydak's side has gone five matches undefeated away from home, scoring nine and conceding four, having been triumphant over South Florida 2-0 in Tampa to conclude the regular season. 
Six Knights received numerous honors given out at the behest of the Conference following the conclusion of the regular season. Scott, DeLisle, Rajaee, and Dayana Martin all landed on the first team, with Georgia Eaton-Collins getting the second team nod, rounded out by Mia Asenjo, who played her way on the all-rookie team. 
The Opponent
North Caroline State enters the weekend's first-round tie on a so-called cold streak, having not won a match since a 2-1 victory in Clemson at the end of September. The Pack concluded the season with a 7-7-5 overall record, playing their best soccer at home (5-4-2). The lone common opponent was Tar Heels, who NC State also fell to 2-0 in Chapel Hill. 
Under coach Tim Santoro, now in his 11th season, the squad has made the NCAA Tournament six seasons in a row since they broke their 17-year hiatus from the competition in 2016. The Wolfpack are an experienced group who have yet to drop a first-round game in the half-a-decade window. In 2021, they defeated AAC Champions South Florida before falling to Pepperdine in the second round. 
Two players to watch out for are a pair of seniors, Jameese Joseph and Leyah Hall-Robinson. Both lead the team in points with a combined 27. Joseph has netted eight while Hall-Robinson set a career-high with five assists on the season. 
Saturday's meeting will be the first between the programs in 28 years when the Knights defeated the Wolfpack 4-2 in Orlando. NC State was a common matchup for UCF in the decade following its first pairing in 1984. The Black and Gold lead the all-time series five-four, splitting the four games played in Raleigh.
This will be the program's 23rd appearance in the NCAA Tournament and the fifth since Roberts Sahaydak took charge in 2013, the Knights inaugural season in the American Athletic Conference.
The game will be available to stream on ACC Network+. Live stats will also be available.