#23 UCF Women's Soccer 2013 Preview

UCF Knights

Overall Rank: #23
Conference Rank: #1 American
#23 UCF Women's Soccer 2013 Preview
UCF Team Page


The University of Central Florida heads into the 2013 season embarking on multiple new journeys as a program. First, Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak takes over as head coach for Amanda Cromwell. Cromwell, who left for UCLA, elevated the UCF program to an emerging power on the national landscape. The Knights also move into a new conference, the American Athletic Conference. This conference move should elevate the Knights’ ability to recruit and compete at a higher level nationally.
2012 Record: 17-5-2, 8-3-0 (C-USA)
2012 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak

The balance on offense will make UCF very dangerous. They can beat you from anywhere on the field. In 2012 the Knights scored 54 goals, and while Tishia Jewell has graduated, UCF does return multiple dangerous offensive scoring threats. Ashley Nicol and Kristina Trujic will provide the senior leadership. Junior Jennifer Martin will lead the scoring. Last season she had eight goals and could vie for Conference Player of the Year honors if she can score 12 to 15 goals this season. Defensively, Lianne Maldonado brings her veteran experience back in goal. The Knights only allowed 13 goals in 2012 and that caliber of defense should allow the Knights to make a run again come NCAA Tournament time.
The Knights need to be less volatile and streaky in their goal scoring output. The team scored 16 goals in a three-match stretch during conference play but they struggled to score goals against Florida State and Miami. This ended up costing the Knights in the first round of the NCAA Tourney when they lost in penalty kicks. The move to a tougher conference is going to help the UCF become even more battle tested by the time the NCAA Tournament rolls around. The chance to play athletic and physical teams like UConn and Rutgers is going to help accelerate the transition into the American Athletic Conference and help the Knights contend right away for a conference championship.

Final Projection:
The Knights have a nicely balanced schedule in the non-conference portion of their schedule. They open in Honolulu against Washington in a matchup of NCAA Tournament caliber sides. The following weekend will be the big one for RPI building purposes as the Knights host Tennessee on August 30th, and on September 1st will battle in-state rival Florida State. These two statement games will set the tone for the Knights heading into conference play in the AAC. The final conference home stand against Rutgers and Memphis on October 18th and 20th will most likely be the difference between winning the regular season conference title and putting a potential host bid for NCAA’s at risk. This pair of matches for the Knights will be to a vital chance to send the message to the selection committee that they are deserving of hosting NCAA matches. With a full buy-in to the new coaching staff, UCF could be a well-balanced, skilled and experienced team that should be capable of making a run in the postseason.  

Projected Postseason: NCAA
Returning Leaders:
Goals: Jennifer Martin, Junior, Midfield/Forward, 8
Assists: Ashley Nicol, Senior, Defender/Midfield, Forward, 7
Shots: Kristina Trujic, Senior, Midfield/ Forward, 43
Saves: Lianne Maldonado, Senior, Goalkeeper, 67


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