HOUSTON, Texas – It was a contrasting triumph for the RV women’s soccer team (6-2-0) compared to its inaugural Big 12 win a week ago, as the Knights defeated Houston (6-3-1) 1-0 Thursday night at the Carl Lewis International Complex. Following a 4-2 victory against West Virginia, UCF secured another three points to stay perfect in conference play, with a remarkable Katie Bradley corner kick serving as the breakthrough.
I'm thrilled to earn our first Big 12 road win! Houston made it very difficult for us tonight so we are excited we found a way. The team is really coming together and gaining confidence with each game. We now need to recover and get ready for a very good Kansas team.
It was the usual attacking threats for UCF through the early stages of the first half. Martin created a good opportunity with a beautiful dribbling sequence in the fifth minute before firing her first shot of the night high. Netzel found Moreno streaking into the box, playing a perfect ball before Houston’s Olivia Dietrich made a strong save. Through the first 30 minutes, the Knights recorded six shots on goal, with half landing on target following consistent pressure in the final third.
Starting their third consecutive match as a defensive unit, Olivia Lewis, Kylie Thelen, Jessica McCullen and Sanja Homann have found structure ahead of Caroline DeLisle. A mix of tenured veterans, a redshirt freshman and a first-year transfer, the Knights back four dealt with the Cougars attack through the first 45. Houston’s foremost threat, Cameryn Maddox, recorded five shots as both DeLisle and the UCF defense kept their composure to sustain the Knights' efforts in the opposing half.
Following the first of two corners from senior Katie Bradley in a two-minute span, the England native’s set-piece prowess was on full display. She swung in a vibrant corner that made its way past a variety of Knights and Cougars before finding the back of the net. The goal marks Bradley’s first of the season and eight of her career, as she now matches her career assist tally, continuing to pull strings at the heart of UCF’s midfield. The 41st-minute goal was the fruition of a strong attacking presence in the first half as the Knights pinned five shots on Houston.
The set piece maestro 🪄— UCF Women's Soccer (@UCF_WSoccer) September 22, 2023
First goal of the season for KB and the eighth of her career 😤 pic.twitter.com/sa2D7UUA3x
The Knights move to 5-1 when notching the first goal of the match, as they’ve shown the ability to both battle back after conceding first and protect an early advantage to secure three points. In UCF’s first Big 12 triumph, the Knights secured the victory following three unanswered goals following an early Mountaineers lead. Now with two conference wins under its belt, UCF’s variety of score lines are a testament to its flexibility and array of experience.
Houston came out firing in the second half as it strived to level the match, though DeLisle put in one of her best performances of the season. With four saves and a clinical final 45, the fifth year secured her third career shutout against Houston. The Cougars couldn’t register a single shot in the final 10 minutes of play as UCF saw a team effort, especially from Netzel whose composure with her feet was vital in the dying second of the 90 minutes.
DeLisle continues her climb towards engraving her name into the history books as her 29th career shutout shifts the magic number to two. Former Knight Karen Richter (1987-90) currently holds the record in clean sheets with 30.5.
The Black and Gold will look to stay perfect in its inaugural Big 12 campaign this Sunday as the Knights welcome Kansas to the UCF Soccer Complex at 1 p.m.