Well, here we go. It’s mid-late August, and that means it’s time to prepare you for the fall sports at UCF. And starting us off, as they do every year (at an absurdly early date) is UCF Women’s Soccer.
10-7-1, 6-3 AAC, 3rd place
Typically this team is the gold standard, but a series of unfortunate events, starting with a wash-out of the home opener prior to an early-season trip to North Carolina, landed the 2018 UCF Knights in third place in the conference.
UCF lost its first two games to ranked opponents Texas and UNC by one goal each. Then, in the season finale, the Knights lost 1-0 at South Florida in a match that, had the Knights won, would have earned them the conference regular season title and home pitch for the conference tournament.
UCF lost 1-0 in the conference semifinals to Memphis and got left out of the NCAAs.
Picked 3rd in the preseason
The Knights are picked to finish in third place in the conference, behind South Florida and Memphis, who each got four first-place votes (USF gets the nod on total points). UCF got two first-place votes.
UCF didn’t receive a vote in the preseason United Soccer Coaches’ Top 25 for the first time in God-knows-when.
Who’s In Charge
Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak
The three-time American Coach of the Year and USWNT 99er enters season number seven at the helm of the Knights’ program with a 78-31-12 (.694) career record.n Last season was only the second time UCF has missed the NCAA Tournament under her leadership.
Who to Watch
#6 Konya Plummer (Senior - Epsom, St. Mary, Jamaica)
The senior captain spent the summer leading her native Jamaica in the Women’s World Cup. She will be heavily relied upon to solidify the back line with Vera Varis giving way after four great years in goal. Plummer was named second team all-conference this preseason.
#19 Zandy Soree (Senior - Weston, Florida)
Soree stepped up her game to finish tied for second on the team in goals with six, and is the top returning goal scorer.
#7 Kristin Scott (Sophomore - Orlando, Florida)
Scott started all 18 games en route to her conference all-rookie team nod. She tied Soree with six goals, second on the team, and was named second-team all-conference in the preseason.
Who We’ll Miss
Stefanie Sanders and Dina Orschmann
Sanders and Orschmann were a key one-two punch last year, with Sanders leading the team with 13 goals and Orschmann fourth with three. They were also one and two in assists.
But both decided to leave college to play professionally in their native Germany after their sophomore seasons.
Who’s New That’s Good
#16 Olivia Smith - Sophomore (Transfer from Oklahoma)
Smith is a native of England with six caps of international experience under her belt, including an appearance in the Euro Finals. She started all 13 games for Oklahoma last year and recorded two assists.
#16 Mallory Olsson - Sophomore (Transfer from Miami)
Olsson comes north from Miami, where she was second on the ‘Canes with four goals in 18 games.
Who’s On The Roster
- Five seniors, four juniors, 12 sophomores and 11 freshmen
- Nine international players (Germany, England, France, Canada, Jamaica)
- 17 players from Florida, including five from the Central Florida area
The Big Games
- 8/22 vs. #16 Wisconsin
- 8/28 vs. Ohio State (RV)
- 9/8 at Florida (RV)
- 9/12 vs. Arizona State (RV)
- 9/15 vs. Stetson
- 9/26 vs. #20 Memphis
- 10/20 vs. UConn (final meeting in The American)
- 10/31 vs. #18 South Florida
The Last Time...
Last Conference Title: 2017 (Regular Season), 2013 (Tournament). UCF has won either the tournament or the regular season conference title in 13 of the last 21 seasons (across three different conferences).
Last NCAA Appearance: 2017. UCF has missed the tournament just five times in the last 21 years.
What to Watch For
The keepers. Vera Varis is gone after a spectacular four seasons in goal for UCF, taking her two American Goalkeeper of the Year awards, 1.07 career GAA (9th all-time at UCF) and 21 career shutouts (6th) with her. Replacing her will be Caroline DeLisle, a freshman from Tampa who redshirted last season, and Nahla Turner, a sophomroe transfer from West Virginia.
Who to Follow
- UCF Women’s Soccer: @UCF_WSoccer
- Coach Sahaydak: @trsahaydak
- The American Women’s Soccer: @American_WSoc