Sept. 30, 2012
UCF Athletics Social Media Directory
By Jenna Marina
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - The No. 10 UCF women's soccer team closed their weekend with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Rice on Sunday afternoon to clinch its third-straight shutout and seventh of the year.
UCF (9-2-1, 3-1-0) snapped Rice's (6-4-2, 3-1-0) league-best unbeaten streak at five matches and delivered the Owls' first conference loss.
"I think for the most part we did really well defensively," UCF head coach Amanda Cromwell said. "You could easily lose this game 1-0 against an opponent like Rice because they're good enough. I think the way we approached it - how solid our defense (was) and Lianne (Maldonado) in goal - she was very good coming out at crosses and snagging anything. Across the board, I was very happy with the weekend."
Playing in just her fifth match as a Knight, freshman Sophie Howard netted the first goal of her career to lift the Knights to victory. Howard missed most of the non-conference season and arrived in Orlando in two weeks ago from the U-20 World Cup in Japan where she was representing her home country of Germany.
Howard connected for the game-winner in the 67th minute after winning a volley with the Owls before she stuck it in the back of the net from the top of the box.
"Shooting my first goal today was an awesome feeling," Howard said all smiles. "I should have hit the first one -- the easy one -- but I got the hard one."
The Knights were elated to break through as they had several near-goals prior to the midfielder's score.
As the teams battled through a back-and-forth first period, senior Bianca Joswiak had a pair of nice crosses from the left side that the Knights simply couldn't capitalize on. Joswiak's first cross just missed the foot of an on-rushing Tishia Jewell in front of the net. Minutes later, her second cross connected with Howard, but the attempt went high.
In the second period, Rice goalkeeper Amy Czyz came up with several brilliant saves. She leaped to snag Ashley Nicol's attempt from the right side of the box around the 60-minute mark. She then game up with back-to-back saves five minutes later off Jennifer Martin's free kick and Jewell's rebound from the deflection.
But the Knights were just as efficient on defense. UCF held Rice to two shots all game.
"I think we take a lot of pride in our defense," Maldonado said. "Our motto is if the other team can't score, they can't win. It puts the pressure on us to make sure we're getting our job done because we have faith in our forwards. If we don't let them score on us, we know we'll get the W."
UCF continues its homestand Friday at 7 p.m. against Tulsa. For tickets, as well as information on the soccer scarf, please call the UCF Ticket Office at (407) UCF-1000 or visit UCFAthletics.com.