ORLANDO – The RV UCF women’s soccer team (2-2-0) will kick off a three-match home stand on Sunday, Sept. 4 when Florida Atlantic (2-1-2) comes to town. The match will kick off at 6 p.m. at the UCF Soccer Complex as the penultimate non-conference test.
The Knights will look to bounce back after falling to No. 6/4 Penn State on Thursday night. A goal in the 89th minute put an end to the UCF clean sheet, which had held strong despite going down to 10 women after Sanja Homann was issued a red card in the 52nd minute. Caroline DeLisle still put up one of the best matches of her career, making a season-high 10 saves, the majority of which came in the second half. The 0-1 result was the first time that the Knights have been held scoreless since the 0-0 draw on Aug. 25, 2022, at Utah Valley, snapping what was the Big 12’s longest active record for consecutive matches with a goal-scored.
UCF has always been dominant at home, especially under Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak. The last time the squad was defeated at home was Sept. 4, 2022, against Ole Miss, the longest active undefeated home streak in the Big 12. The Knights took the home opener against North Florida last Sunday, with a 2-1 decision. Six Knights picked up points in the total team victory, including four individual team members earning assists. Ellie Moreno scored her first goal of the 2023 campaign, with assists from Mia Asenjo (the first assist of her career) and Dayana Martin. Xavier transfer Chloe Netzel continued to make her impact felt with her second aerial goal of the season, assisted by Polly Watson and Homann. Netzel leads the team in points (5), goals (2) and goal contributions (3). The win over the Ospreys was the fifth consecutive year that the Knights have won their home opener, dating back to the 2020-21 season.
The Sunday meeting between FAU and UCF will be the first regular season match since 2014. The two met last season during the exhibition slate, where the Knights defeated the Owls 2-1 in Boca Raton, Fla. The Black and Gold holds the all-time series 17-5-1. The last regular season matchup was a 1-0 home victory for the Knights in the 100th minute of overtime.
FAU makes the trip north off the back of two consecutive wins, as the Owls currently stand at 2-1-2 on the season. Taking the place of the Knights position in the American Athletic Conference, FAU boasts a challenging non-conference schedule before embarking on its inaugural AAC slate. With draws against Little Rock and on the road against Miami to start the campaign, the Owls suffered a 3-0 defeat at UCF’s Big 12 counterpart Oklahoma State. Without a win through its first three matches for the first time since 2020, FAU notched its first victory of 2023 last week with a strong performance against Texas A&M – Corpus Christi 3-0 on Sunday, Aug. 27. The Owls then welcomed Louisiana on Thursday, who had previously been unbeaten, though the Ragin Cajuns fell early on goals from FAU’s Sloane Young and Michelle Horan, an advantage that the Owls attained, winning the match 2-1.
Head coach Patrick Baker is in his 11th season leading the Owls, announced the coach just three months before Roberts Sahaydak took post at UCF. In its last season in C-USA, Baker led FAU to its eighth straight appearance in the conference tournament, making it all the way to double overtime of the championship game before being outlasted by UTSA. His career record stands at 343-233-58 as Baker remains the only collegiate women’s soccer coach to have led a team to the DI, DII, and DIII NCAA Tournament, with previous stints at Rollins, Georgia, Florida State, Penn, and North Carolina Wesleyan. In 2003, Baker was named the National Coach of the Year by Soccer America after guiding the Seminoles to the NCAA College Cup Final Four.
The Owls are led by Icelandic sophomore Elin Simonardottir, who has bagged three goals on just eight shots to start the season. The FAU frontline also consists of South Florida transfer Sloane Young, who has tallied a goal and an assist thus far. In midfield, senior Molly Setsma has already surpassed her career high in assists with three, while Sophomore Michelle Horan is third on the team in points with four (one goal and two assists).
-Preseason All-Big 12 honoree Dayana Martin is one assist away from 10 all-time and 30 career points. With 10 goals to her name, the Boca Raton native will look to enter double digits in both categories Sunday night.
-With her performance Thursday night against Penn State, Caroline DeLisle has collected 251 career saves, fourth in program history. Her .818 career goals-against average is 7th in program history as well.