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Knights Fall Short in Regular-Season Finale at No. 7 BYU, 3-2

by Alex Clough

PROVO, Utah - In front of a packed South Field, the UCF women’s soccer team (9-6-1) fell just short in its regular-season finale, losing 3-2 to No. 7 BYU (14-1-3) Monday evening. A dominant Chloe Netzel display and a late penalty goal from Mia Asenjo kept the Knights in the match throughout, though the Cougars were able to maintain their lead to secure an unbeaten season at home for the first time since 2019.

The team just kept on battling tonight. We went down early but found a way to get back into the game. I'm proud of our response and our fight, now we're looking forward to the Big 12 Tournament.

Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak

Seconds following a playing of ‘Zombie Nation’ that wrapped up the pre-match senior night ceremonies, the Knights first sequence of the night resulted in an early chance from Netzel who forced the Cougars keeper into a stretching save following her interception and subsequent shot.

BYU responded quickly, advancing play into the final third as Brecken Mozingo cut the ball back into an on-running Allie Fryer who slotted it past Caroline DeLisle to give the Cougars an early lead. Just two minutes and forty-eight seconds following the first whistle, BYU’s opener marked the earliest goal the Knights defense has conceded all season.

While UCF fought to level the match following one of many Netzel chances, with the junior putting her laces through a shot that traveled inches above the crossbar in the seventh minute, the Cougars doubled their advantage just before the 20-minute mark on Olivia Katoa’s seventh goal of the season.

Down 2-0 for the first time in 2023, UCF continued to strive for its first goal of the evening as chances continued to be produced in the BYU half. The aforementioned Netzel was at the forefront of the Knights attack, and she resoundingly displayed her ability to cut the lead in half. Katie Bradley played the ball to Netzel on the edge of the final third as the Xavier transfer was then triumphant in a duel with BYU’s Olivia Smith-Griffitts, moving into open space before firing a shot into the top-right of the goal just outside the 18-yard box. Netzel’s sixth of the season matches her goal-tally in her previous two seasons, propelling her career catalog to 18 as she now leads the Knights in scoring.

UCF and BYU exchanged chances in the dying minutes of the first 45 before the Cougars eventually snatched back their two-goal advantage in the 43rd on Brecken Mozingo’s ninth of the season as the senior matched her assist tally in her final regular-season match.

Compared to the first half in which both squads combined for 18 shots, the early stages of the second saw each team exchange spells of possession before the Knights recorded three shots in three minutes. Dayana Martin impressed leading an urgent UCF attack through the majority of the match and eventually drew a penalty in the 80th minute that Mia Asenjo, taking her first shot from the spot in her career, converted upon, placing the ball perfectly into the bottom-right corner. The New York native’s second of the season continues to elevate her career high in points with seven, moving her into fifth on the team.

Consistent pressure on BYU’s backline put the crowd on edge, though 10 minutes proved to be too little to find the late equalizer. The defeat marked the fourth for the Knights away from home as Roberts Sahaydak and her squad now shift their attention towards the program's first appearance in the Big 12 Championship next week in Round Rock, Texas.