WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A gritty defensive performance and a Dayana Martin goal propelled the UCF women’s soccer team to a 1-0 victory against Purdue in its first match of the season in front of a sold-out Folk Field in West Lafayette, Indiana. Following a tight first half, Chloe Netzel and Dayana Martin connected on a goal early in the second, a lead that the Knights protected. The triumph marks the fourth consecutive season UCF has won its season opener.
We came into a rowdy environment at Purdue and played a very gritty, competitive match. I’m so proud of the team for coming together and fighting to earn the win. We had a lot of spirit and we’ll keep growing from here.”
From the first whistle, the Knights instantly applied pressure in the final third. When on the ball, Mia Asenjo and Katie Bradley broke the Purdue back line as Maggie Jenkins and Ellie Moreno had multiple chances during the first 20 minutes. In the 17th minute, Asenjo played a perfect ball down the right flank which Moreno chased down, taking it into the box and hitting the post after catching the Boilermakers’ keeper off her line. The shot fell to Jenkins before Purdue eventually cleared the ball out of its box.
As the first 45 winded down, both teams saw good chances before eventually heading into the locker room scoreless. The Knights outshot Purdue 9-5 in the first half with three shots on goal.
Having been tabbed to the preseason All-Big 12 squad, Martin wasted no time in showing her ability as she got UCF on the scoresheet in the 49th minute. Martin received the ball at the halfway line and sped past the Purdue defenders before playing it toward a streaming Netzel. The Xavier transfer, making her Knights debut, delivered a beautiful through ball to Martin who continued her run, tapping it in at the back post to give the Knights the lead.
🚨SPOILER ALERT🚨— UCF Women's Soccer (@UCF_WSoccer) August 18, 2023
Dayana Martin came alive😉 pic.twitter.com/o581tdL0Om
Martin’s speed left the Boilermakers with nothing to do but watch, as the Boca Raton native has now scored in two consecutive season-opening matches.
The Black and Gold continued to harass the Purdue back line as Netzel and Moreno almost connected to double the lead before the opposition cleared the box. Caroline DeLisle was tested as the match came to a close, with Purdue throwing numbers in the Knights box looking for the equalizer. With a potential fourth consecutive opening match shutout on the line, the two-time AAC Goalkeeper of the Year showed why she’s one of the nation’s best, making a literal last-second save to secure the Knights the road win. DeLisle is now tied for fourth in program history as the Indiana native secured her 27th career shutout.
Fate of the Universe on the line…— UCF Women's Soccer (@UCF_WSoccer) August 18, 2023
I WANT CAROLINE DELISLE😤 pic.twitter.com/LhppkDdHr6
The Knights finished with 16 shots to Purdue’s 14, putting six on goal.
Since 2020, the Knights have outscored the opposition 11-0 in their first match of the season. Following dominant victories over Florida (3-0), Texas (4-0), and Temple (3-0), dating back to 2020, UCF is off and running in 2023.
UCF stays on the road for a highly anticipated meeting with Georgia next Thursday, Aug. 24. The Bulldogs are ranked 24th in the preseason Top Drawer Soccer poll.