Looking to avenge two losses last season by the hands of UConn, the UCF women’s soccer team went into Sunday’s match with a statement to make.
After a back and forth game, the No. 20 Huskies (9-2-0, 1-1-0 in AAC) were able to get their first conference win of the year against the No. 30 Knights (6-3-1, 1-1-0 in AAC) on the road, 3-2.
The Knights came out strong and held the ball in the Huskies’ zone for the majority of the first half, generating a few shots that just missed going in by a matter of inches.
Their hard work paid off, though. In the 44th minute, redshirt sophomore Kayla Adamek crossed the ball into the box, where sophomore Morgan Ferrara was waiting. Ferrara finished, putting the Knights ahead 1-0 at halftime.
In the second half, UConn was able to generate chances and retain possession in a very physical game. After Huskies’ junior forward Rachel Hill tied the game at one apiece, momentum appeared to swing after UCF goalkeeper Vera Varis stopped a penalty kick.
Not long after the save, senior Ashley Spivey was able to connect on a cross and put the Knights up 2-1 in the 72nd minute.
With its backs against the wall, UConn rallied for two goals in the last 15 minutes, including the game winner by Hill, which was her second of the game.
“I just sat between their center backs and they had trouble figuring out who was going to mark me so it made it a lot easier for me to get into that space,” said Hill, who was the American Athletic Conference Co-Offensive Player of the Year last season.
The Knights seemed to have the game where they wanted it with 15 minutes to play, but a combination of UConn determination and bad bounces were the cause of the deflating loss.
“I think there has been a little miscommunication between our goalkeeper and our backs. That one [goal], that was a 50/50 ball. They were all looking at it instead of someone clearing it out,” head coach Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak said. “We will have to keep working on that.”
The Knights will travel to play at East Carolina Thursday at 7 p.m.
Matthew Saunders is a Contributing Writer for the Central Florida Future.