There were very few empty seats at the UCF Soccer Complex Friday night for the women's match between the No.9-ranked Knights and No. 3 Florida State. Friday night's audience was one of the largest crowds in program history as 1,310 fans - including 449 students - packed into the stadium.
Despite a 1-0 loss to the Seminoles, the Knights said Friday's huge crowd meant a lot to them.
"There were times when I had a few opportunities and having the crowd behind the goal gave us a better advantage and brings energy to the field," said senior midfielder Andrea Rodrigues. "It brings more than you ever know."
Head coach Amanda Cromwell said it was great seeing black and gold all over in the stands. She also enjoyed seeing season ticketholders with their UCF soccer scarfs.
"The soccer culture is a unique one," Cromwell said. "If we can get the fans and the students to embrace our soccer culture, then I think they'll keep coming out in full force."
The students in attendance said this game was being talked about on campus all week. Many said the large turnout didn't surprise them.
"Every year I've been here the crowds started out small, but got really big," said UCF senior Pedro Vasconcellos. "Athletics is huge here at UCF."
Fans will get a chance to pack the stands again this weekend. UCF will take on another in-state opponent when Miami travels north for a Sunday afternoon matchup. Coach Cromwell hopes to see another big turnout.
"We need the same crowd to support us," said Cromwell. "Sunday afternoons are always a tough game in the heat and your legs are tired from Friday. We're going to have to use some more players than we did tonight. Hopefully the crowd gives us some energy to get a win."-UCF Athletics-