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No. 22 Women's Soccer Suffers 2-1 Defeat at No. 25 Georgia

by Alex Clough

ATHENS, Ga. –  The No. 22 UCF women’s soccer team was defeated 2-1 Thursday night at the Turner Sports Complex after two late Georgia goals. The Knights got on the board in the first half on a Chloe Netzel header, before a back-and-forth second resulted in a tough loss on the road to move UCF to 1-1 and the Bulldogs to 1-1 on the young season.

It’s a heartbreaking loss but there’s always a silver lining, we’ll grow from this and be better for it. We have to quickly shift our focus to the home opener this Sunday against North Florida.

Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak

The first half saw just one shot on goal from each team, as Caroline DeLisle made a strong save in the second minute on a shot by Georgia’s Hannah White. With both squads looking to get onto the front foot, much of the first 45 saw the sides exchange spells of possession. The Bulldogs tested the Knights back line on multiple occasions, though Kyleigh Thelen and Ariel Young continued to grow their partnership.

A breakthrough came in the 27th minute as the second corner of the night for UCF came to fruition. Bradley, who is the primary set piece taker for the Knights having scored two free kicks in 2022, delivered the corner kick on a dime for Netzel who matched the class with a beautiful header to the far post. A second consecutive goal contribution from Netzel and a first career goal for UCF gave the Knights the advantage.

After protecting the lead heading into the half, UCF embarked on the last 45 looking to double the lead. A Dayana Martin chance in the 65th minute was inches away from doing so but her shot went just wide of the net. With seven minutes left on the clock, the Bulldogs found the equalizer on a DeLisle save that fell right to Caroline Smith who slotted it home. The eventual match-winner came with 55 seconds until the final whistle as a Nicole Vernis pass fell to an on-running White who gave Georgia the lead.

UCF will return to Orlando ahead of its much-anticipated home opener against North Florida on Sunday, Aug. 17, at 5 p.m. ET.