ORLANDO – The RV UCF women’s soccer team capped off its non-conference slate with a 2-0 statement win over South Florida Sunday night at the UCF Soccer Complex. With two quick goals scored in less than two minutes, the Knights secured yet another home win, further extending their home undefeated streak to a Big 12 Conference record 371 days. The second shutout of the season also marks Caroline DeLisle’s 28th of her career, giving her sole possession of fourth place in program history.
“In the second half, we gained the momentum back and had some great goals. That second goal really solidified it, and we did a great job of managing the time. After the first half, we really stepped up and did things more proactively and had that next level of desire to get us the win.”
The match started off very back-and-forth for the squads, with both getting a shot off in the opening 10 minutes. The Bulls got a few good looks in a flurry off a free kick, all of which were stopped by the backline, which had yet another phenomenal performance. Kyleigh Thelen played the full 90 minutes for the sixth straight match and aided in a team save in that flurry to keep the Bulls scoreless. The possession was split 50-50 in the first half, but the Knights were outshot 6-1, not getting a shot on target in the opening 45. Despite this, the teams were knotted 0-0 entering the locker room at the break.
After the quiet first half, the Knights emerged from the locker room with a new sense of grit, ready to capitalize. Within the first 47 seconds, Chloe Netzel took her first shot on goal, which was saved by the South Florida keeper. Netzel got another shot off, this time high, in a strong offensive push from the Black and Gold.
With late goals being a huge part of the 2023 season, the non-conference finale proved to be the same. Netzel earned her third goal of the campaign off a long shot from outside of the box. The shot went past three South Florida defenders before flying into the back of the net to open the scoring for the match.
“I thought I didn’t put my opportunities away in the first half, so I knew I had to take the chances I got. I saw that I had a lane on that goal, and I just went for it.”
Less than two minutes later, the Knights were awarded a corner kick, to be taken by Katie Bradley, who takes majority of the corners for UCF. The corner went straight into the box, and it looked as though the Bulls keeper gloved it and made the save. The ball slipped from her hands, and Ellie Moreno was there, ready to capitalize. In a quick reflex, the Knights’ goals leader tapped the ball with her right foot and found the back of the net, doubling the lead for the Black and Gold. The goal marked her fourth of the season, all of which have been scored at home in front of Knight Nation.
The Knights continued to play aggressively, taking two shots and controlling possession in the final 16 minutes of play, not allowing the Bulls to get any scoring chances. When the final whistle blew, Netzel recorded five shot attempts, a season high, and three shots on goal, matching her career high.
DeLisle’s four saves, as well as a team save, marked her first shutout at home this season. The 28th of her career is now tied for the sixth most career shutouts among active players in the NCAA.
The Knights play their first Big 12 match on Thursday, Sept. 14, when West Virginia comes to town. The match, which kicks off at 6 p.m., will be the first Big 12 contest in UCF history and all fans are encouraged to wear black for the Big 12 Blackout.