STILLWATER, Okla. – A back-and-forth bout saw the No. 19 UCF women’s soccer team (7-3-0) drop its first Big 12 match, suffering a 1-2 defeat to Oklahoma State (11-2-0) Thursday night. A second-half equalizer from Dayana Martin kept the Knights with all to play for, though a Cowgirls goal 10 minutes later proved to be the winner.
Unfortunately, we didn’t play our best in the 1st 45 minutes. We definitely came out stronger in the 2nd half and played well enough to win. We will stick together and refocus for a tough match-up versus Oklahoma on Sunday.
Neal Patterson Stadium has served as a fortress for the Cowgirls through their 10-2 start to the season, with the opening 10 minutes serving as an early test for the Knights defense. Oklahoma State’s four shots and consistent pressure forced Kyleigh Thelen and Ariel Young, making their first start together since Aug. 31., into multiple clearances. A Cowgirls corner in the 15th minute proved to be the reward for Oklahoma State’s energetic start as Ellie Geoffroy headed in her third goal of the season.
The Knights eventually found their footing, as Chloe Netzel and Mia Asenjo benefited from a more advanced UCF midfield, notching two shots as the Knights began to control possession. Following the Cowgirls early spell of chances, the backline held them to four shots in the final 25 minutes. At the half, the Knights put two on goal compared to the Cowgirls three as they remained firmly in the match.
Roberts Sahaydak’s squad came out with determination in the early minutes of the final 45, with impressive attacking sequences to disrupt any momentum the Cowgirls had going into the break. The spell was for the most part evolving around Martin, whose game-changing speed was on full display. Maggie Jenkins played a beautiful through-ball to an on-running Martin whose shot traveled just wide of the left post. Minutes later she decided to take it herself, traveling into the final third with her feet, playing a cross just out of Netzel’s reach.
Her spell came to fruition in the 53rd minute to level the match at one. Both Moreno and Martin collected a deflected ball that fell back to her feet, controlling it and firing off a missile that soared past the Cowgirls goalkeeper into the near post. Martin’s goal marked her third of the season and 12th in her storied Knights career. With six matches left, her 10 points through the 2023 campaign are just five off her career best of 15 set a season ago.
In Dayana we trust 🤝 pic.twitter.com/pT6Jc8mn1g— UCF Women's Soccer (@UCF_WSoccer) September 29, 2023
Following an array of Knights shots following the goal, Oklahoma State took the lead back on an Xcaret Pineda shot that found the back of the net.
With 30 minutes left to play, the Knights sought to find the equalizer with multiple chances following the Cowgirls goal. Jenkins and Bradley, who scored the winner in UCF’s past two matches, got two shots off to give the Knights some momentum in the Oklahoma State half. With chances from both squads, UCF’s last chance came from a Bradley corner that eventually fell to Olivia Lewis whose shot was inches away from the Cowgirls goal.
The Knights put five shots on goal as their efforts continue to impress, with the performance itself serving as a strong reminder of the squad’s ability as they look to bounce back among the upper echelon of the Big 12.
UCF will stay in the ‘Sooner State’ as they make the 80-mile trip north to Norman for a meeting with Oklahoma on Sunday at 2 p.m. ET.