(Photo by Victor Tan / New Day Review)

Match Recap

ORLANDO, Fla. – All season long, the No. 2-seeded UCF Knights rarely faced a deficit. But that’s what the Knights encountered in their 2017 NCAA Tournament Round 1 matchup with the Washington State Cougars. Even worse, it was by the head of a UCF defender that gave the Cougars their lone goal in a 1-0 UCF loss at the UCF Soccer & Track Complex Saturday night.

“Absolutely tough way to end the season,” fifth-year Knights head coach Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak said after the loss. “I love this team; I love my seniors. I did not want this season to end ever. Just, I enjoy every minute being together. Whether we’re out at training, or we’re at a team meal together, or, you know, we’re just walking over to our practice field, them popping into my office—whatever it is, like, this is such a great group that cares so much about each other and works so hard that when you have something that special, like, character and the people, you wanna keep it together as long as you can.”

UCF’s fatal error occurred in the fifth minute. A Cougars cross into the box was met by the head of defender Saga Fredriksson. Her misdirected header was errantly aimed toward the goal and intended for goalkeeper Vera Varis, but Varis moved forward in a costly miscommunication for the 1-0 lead and unusual deficit.

“Yeah, I mean, I think we were rattled in the first half,” Roberts Sahaydak said. “They understand there’s so much on the line, and that’s, you know, definitely want that to happen the way that it did in the first half. So we were definitely rattled.”

The Knights were relatively limited in nearly the first 70 minutes, as their best chances came from a solo, long-range shot from Dina Orschmann in the ninth minute and a Morgan Ferrara shot from close range that went just high and left. Beginning in the 69th minute, though, UCF began its run at an equalizer.

Forward Stefanie Sanders began the effort with back-to-back, on-goal attempts. Midfielder Bridget Callahan, first, slid the ball down the middle part of the pitch to Sanders for a sliding shot that was met by a reciprocated slide by goalkeeper Ella Dederick toward the ball. Moments later, Fredriksson drove into the box from the left and centered it to Sanders for another on-target effort that went directly to Dederick.

In the 76th minute, Hannah Debose was at the end of a series of unselfish passes near the left part of the box, again, and her on-target shot went straight to Dederick.

Four minutes later, UCF had its best chance of the evening coming off a corner from the right. The set-piece delivery into the box was met by the head of a streaking Callahan, who struck it low and on target. Callahan’s attempt ricocheted off the feet of Ferrara, who had a defender behind her. A Cougars defender then whiffed on the clear, allowing Sanders an on-target chip that was chested down by another defender, eventually finding the mitts of Dederick.

“I thought, overall, in the second half, we played a lot better. It was almost like, you know, they don’t care about conceding anymore, so they don’t worry about, like I said, conceding.,” Roberts Sahaydak said. “They just go forward, and they attack, and when you have nothing to lose, you know, you play that way. So, you know, just took them some time to feel confident that way, but I thought, overall, second half was much better.”

Woman of the Match: GK Ella Dederick

Dederick finished the game with six saves, as she faced 19 shots (nine on-target) in her full 90 minutes of play. From the get-go, Dederick was poised for a standout game, fending off a long-shot blast from Orschmann in the ninth minute. Though, it was in the final 20 minutes when Dederick shined, as UCF pressed with 12 shots (six on-target) in the final period.

What’s next?

The Knights’ season is over after a Round 1 upset at the hands of the Cougars.

Highlights

NDR Notes

  • The Knights entered the 2017 NCAA Tournament with a 17-18-4 all-time record.
  • Saturday’s loss to the Cougars was the 10th time UCF hosted at least one round of the NCAA tournament.
  • Washington State evened the series with UCF at 1-1 after UCF beat the Cougars 2-0 in 2011.
  • UCF’s 16-game unbeaten streak ended with the loss to the Cougars. The record is 18 games, set by Roberts Sahaydak and a freshman Kayla Adamek in 2013.

Scoring

Time Team Goal-scorer Assisted by
5’ Washington State Cougars Saga Fredriksson OWN GOAL

Statistics and Starting Lineups

Goals Assists Shots Shots on Goal Possession %
UCF Knights 0 0 19 9 n/a
Washington State Cougars 0 0 5 4 n/a

UCF Knights starting lineup (4-4-3): Vera Varis (GK); Saga Fredriksson, Maura Aman, Kathellen Sousa, Lauren Nemeroff; Katriina Kuoksa, Zandy Soree, Bridget Callahan; Dina Orschmann, Morgan Ferrara, Kayla Adamek

Washington State Cougars starting lineup (n/a): …


For more on the Knights, follow Victor Tan on Twitter at @NDR_VictorTan.

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