No. 22 Women's Soccer Set for Home-Opener Against North Florida

by Alex Clough

ORLANDO – The No. 22 UCF women’s soccer team will play in front of its home crowd at the UCF Soccer Complex for the first time in 297 days when North Florida comes to town on Sunday, Aug. 27. The match will be streamed on Big 12 Now on ESPN+ with a first-kick time of 5 p.m.

Head coach Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak has always made a point to schedule a challenging non-conference slate and this year is no different. The Knights won their opening-night match against Purdue, collecting a 1-0 victory and the 27th career shutout for veteran goalkeeper Caroline DeLisle.

After earning an assist in her Black and Gold debut, transfer Chloe Netzel headed in her first goal as a Knight off a Katie Bradley free kick to give the squad an early advantage against No. 25 Georgia on Thursday night. The back line was tested numerous times against the Bulldogs within the opening minutes of the match, but the pairing of Ariel Young and Kyleigh Thelen remained strong, protecting the Knights advantage. The Bulldogs were able to equalize and eventually gain the lead in the last 10 minutes to hand the Knights their first loss of the season.

THE OPPONENT               
The Ospreys started the 2023 season with a two-match homestand, hosting Air Force and East Carolina. The team went undefeated on the first weekend of the campaign with a 3-0 win over Air Force and a 0-0 draw against East Carolina. The meeting between the Knights and the Ospreys will be the end of a two-match road trip for North Florida, which suffered its first loss of the season against Georgia Southern on Thursday, 4-1.

Junior goalkeeper Sarah Berrentine, who has been named to the ASUN Honor Roll both seasons with the Osprey, turned away every shot she faced for the first 194 minutes of the season before allowing four goals against Georgia Southern. Allyna Thurston is looking to put the ASUN on notice after being named to the 2023 United Soccer Coaches Defenders to Watch List and 2022 United Soccer Coaches All-South Region Second Team thanks to a stellar sophomore campaign where she helped produce seven shutouts.

-Chloe Netzel, a transfer from Xavier, now has two consecutive matches with a goal contribution. Her goal against Georgia marked her 30th career point and she leads the squad in points with three this season.

-The Knights are two wins away from achieving their 500th victory in program history. UCF’s current record stands at 498-217-75. A win at home would give the Knights a chance to reach the historic milestone against No. 8 Penn State.

-UCF will look to continue its dominance at home, where the program hasn’t lost a match since Sept. 4, 2022. The Knights went 6-1-1 at home during the 2022 season.

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