ORLANDO – A first-time meeting awaits the UCF (8-4) and Baylor (7-5-2) women’s soccer teams on Sunday, Oct. 8. The penultimate home match for the Knights is set to kick off at 1 p.m. from the UCF Soccer Complex. The first 100 fans to arrive to the match will receive a pink UCF cooling towel, in honor of Breast Cancer and Mental Health Awareness night.
The Knights will enter Sunday’s matchup following a difficult 3-1 loss to Texas Thursday night. The defeat was the first loss at home in 396 days, since a 2-1 loss to Ole Miss on Sept. 4, 2022, and the first time the Knights have allowed three goals in almost two years. Fortunately for UCF, the squad has been able to bounce back immediately after each loss this season. The Black and Gold have not dropped back-to-back matches since September 11, 2022, when it fell to Ole Miss and then UNC. There were highlights in the loss to Texas, with senior Maggie Jenkins scoring her first career goal in the eighth minute to give the Knights the early lead. Chloe Netzel showed off her technique, dribbling the ball over and past defenders, before crossing it to Jenkins who tapped it home.
Under Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak, the Knights have had historically strong records during the month of October. Dating back to the 2013 season, UCF is 46-12-5 during the third month of the season. The 2022 campaign, UCF had a perfect month, earning seven wins and no losses or draws during its final season in the American Athletic Conference. There have been two other unbeaten months of October under Roberts Sahaydak, during the 2017 (6-0-1) and 2013 (7-0-1) seasons.
The Bears enter Sunday’s meeting with UCF in strong form, riding just their second two-match winning streak following an offensive breakthrough at Kansas State and versus Iowa State. A 2-0 shutout at Kansas State broke a four-match skid to open Big 12 play, picking up just one point of a possible 12. While Baylor couldn’t have been handed a more difficult opening stretch to conference play, Texas, BYU and Texas Tech held the Bears from scoring while putting 10 Baylor combined. The Bears were able to showcase their attacking efforts with a 4-2 victory at home versus Iowa State Thursday night in Waco.
Embarking on her second season at the helm, Michelle Lenard continues her rebuild with the Bears following a promising first year. Lenard built a strong reputation for herself while leading Dallas Baptist for 14 seasons where she guided the Patriots to 13 conference titles.
Tyler Isgrig and Ashley Merrill have accompanied 36 of the Bears 73 points. The tandem both bring multiple threats in their games, as Merrill has shown her clinical nature as she leads the squad with eight goals on just 15 shots on target. On the other hand, Isgrig can do it all, with six goals and seven assists to her name.