The UCF women's soccer team stopped history from repeating itself as it beat Georgia in the first round of the NCAA Women's College Cup Tournament, and will advance onto the next round.
Midfielder Ashley Spivey's 70th minute goal lifted the Knights over the Bulldogs 2-1 on Saturday night. The victory was head coach Tiffany Sahaydak's first NCAA tournament win with UCF, all while the team avenged its first-round exit from last season when it fell 3-1 at home to St. John's.
"I'm proud of this team, they came out on fire," Sahaydak said. "We were so energetic on the field. We were so mobile, and that takes a lot out of you. It really was a huge team effort, we knew at halftime Georgia would be a different team and they put us under pressure, but we gained control."
The Knights dominated the first half, with control of possession and winning 50/50 balls. Their consistent aggressive play in the final third led them to outshoot the Bulldogs 9-2 in the first 45 minutes. Senior forward Tatiana Coleman, who leads the team in scoring with 12 goals in 2014, played an integral part in UCF's victory, navigating and dominating through the right wing.
Coleman's presence with the ball proved to be worthy when she found forward Kayla Darden in a through ball. Darden capitalized on Coleman's pass as she opened the scoreboard for the Knights in the 30th minute.
"We knew we could do it, it's just a matter of heart," Darden said after the game. "I'm so happy because this is not my last game and I get to go on to the next round. We know we have the talent and I know we can believe."
The lead was short lived when Georgia came into the second half firing shots from all cylinders. The Knights had difficulties clearing the ball from their box after a consistent wave of attacks from the Bulldogs. Georgia forward Andie Fontanetta made UCF pay the price for that after she equalized the game five minutes into the second half.
With the game tied, UCF regrouped fast and regained the lead in the 70th minute when Hannah DeBose's cross found Spivey, who struck the ball from close range to score the game winner for the Knights.
UCF awaits the winner of DePaul and Wisconsin, who it'll play on Friday on the road in the second round of the NCAA Women's College Cup.