AUSTIN, Texas – The program’s inaugural Big 12 Championship run came to an end Wednesday night, as the UCF women’s soccer team was bested by No. 7 BYU, 4-1, under the lights of Mike A. Myers Stadium.
Not unlike the teams’ first meeting in the Knights’ (10-7-1, 5-4-1 Big 12) regular-season finale in Provo, Utah, Oct. 23, the Cougars (16-1-3, 7-0-3 Big 12) overpowered UCF in the first half, answered only by a converted penalty kick attempt in the second half by Katie Bradley.
The opening 20 minutes, the second of two semifinal matchups held Wednesday, saw both squads exchange periods of possession. Dayana Martin looked alive with the ball, consistently creating space in the final third as she recorded the first shot on target in the seventh minute. The Boca Raton native would add two more in the first half of the opening 45.
A combined six corner kicks were taken between the two teams before play rolled into the 25th minute, with BYU and UCF launching four shots each. However, BYU constantly threatened down the right flank, eventually finding the first goal on Olivia Smith’s cut-back pass that found Olivia Katoa open in the box who slotted it past Caroline DeLisle with her right foot.
From the 28th minute on, the Cougars controlled the possession, eventually adding a second goal courtesy of Katoa's brace in the 34th minute, before notching a third just before the 40-minute mark off Brecken Mozingo’s 10th goal of the season. By the time the referee blew his whistle to indicate halftime, the Cougars grabbed their fourth of the match after Ellie Walbruch’s 11th career goal.
The Knights wouldn’t go down without a fight, as the final 45 saw inspiring play from the attacking core. A BYU handball in the 79th minute led to Bradley firing home her third penalty and fourth goal of the campaign, elevating her career high in points to 15.
UCF will now await the NCAA Selection Show on Monday, Nov. 6, to learn if head coach Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak and her squad have earned a berth to the NCAA tournament.