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Everything You Need To Know About the 2022 UCF Women’s Soccer Team

The Knights aim to return to the NCAAs for the first time since 2017

UCF Women’s Soccer Kristen Scott
Kristen Scott
Photo courtesy: UCF Athletics

The Women’s Soccer team will be the first UCF Knights team to take the field in the 2022-23 season when they face the Florida Gators on Thursday, August 18th at 6 p.m. The match will be streamed live on ESPN+.

Here’s everything you need to know about the Knights as they start their campaign:

Last Season

8-7-1 (3-4-1 AAC), 6th place in The American

Postseason: Lost in AAC Tournament First Round to Memphis

2021 started great for the Knights, but ended in a nightmare. UCF got a few key non-conference wins over Texas, LSU, and No. 7 Penn State, and were ranked as high as 14th in the United Soccer Coaches’ poll heading into conference play.

But an AAC-opening loss to Houston dug UCF a hole they couldn’t quite get out of. They went winless in their first four conference matches (against the top four teams in the conference), snagging only a draw against SMU. They rebounded with three straight wins but then dropped a 3-1 decision to 7th-place Cincinnati on the final day of the regular season, which was the real killer.

They ended up having to go to Memphis for the first round of the AAC Tournament, where their season ended at the hands of the eventual conference tournament champs with no hope of an at-large NCAA bid.

This Season

Picked 3rd in The American, tied with SMU

Memphis is back. UCF’s primary nemesis from the C-USA days is expected to defend their surprise conference championship from last year, where they beat UCF and then knocked off both teams that earned the bye to take the title.

Houston, Cincinnati, and South Florida should also contend for the conference crown in what figures to be a loaded AAC in 2022.

The Knights picked up a first-place vote in the preseason coaches poll. This will be UCF’s final season in The American before joining the Big 12.

Who’s in Charge

Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak — 10th Season at UCF

Belgium v United States
Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak
Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images

The three-time AAC Coach of the Year enters her tenth season at UCF with the prime directive of getting back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2017. The USWNT legend finally had a full, normal off-season for the first time since 2019, after COVID pushed back the 2020 season to the spring of 2021, and then the 2021 season went off that fall.

She is just one win shy of becoming just the second UCF head coach with 100 wins, behind her predecessor and fellow USWNT alum Amanda Cromwell, who posted 203 victories over her 14 years in Orlando.

UCF Under Coach Sahaydak

Year Overall Conference AAC Reg. Season AAC Tournament NCAA Tournament
Year Overall Conference AAC Reg. Season AAC Tournament NCAA Tournament
2013 16-3-4 8-0-1 1st Won AAC Tournament First Round
2014 18-5-0 8-1-0 1st Lost Semis (UConn) Sweet 16
2015 12-6-2 6-3-0 3rd Lost Semis in OT (USF) First Round
2016 9-8-2 4-4-1 6th Lost 1st Round in PKs (SMU) -
2017 13-2-3 7-0-2 1st Lost Final in PKs (USF) First Round
2018 10-7-1 6-3-0 3rd Lost Semis (MEM) -
2019 11-4-4 5-2-2 3rd Lost Semis (USF) -
2020* 2-4-1 2-4-1 6th DNQ -
2021 8-7-1 3-4-1 6th Lost 1st Round (MEM) -
Total 99-46-18 49-21-8 3 Titles 1 Title 4 Appearances
* 2020 season played in spring of 2021 due to COVID-19 (no non-conference games)

Listen to our preview podcast with Coach Sahaydak here:

What to Watch for

Scoring Chances

Last year was bizarre for UCF on offense. They finished in the top 50 in the NCAA in scoring offense at 2.00 goals per game despite being ranked 211th in total shots (11.62/game), 225th in shots on goal (5.25/game) and 271st in corner kicks (3.50/game). For UCF’s offensive stars to flourish, they just need more chances.

The Back

Last season’s AAC Goalkeeper of the Year Caroline DeLisle returns in net, but she’ll need help from her back line in order to cut down on the number of shots sent her way. Last season, three of UCF’s four conference losses came by one goal. The Knights brought in two fifth-year transfer defenders, Kelis Barton from Washington State and Georgia Eaton-Collins from Florida, to shore up the back.

The duo adds backline depth that the team has not had in past seasons, Sahaydak said.

“We start off strong, and then we start to lose a little bit of momentum because we’re tired,” Sahaydak said. “90-minute games, two games a week, going back-to-back, that’s too much load on our players and there’s no way you can keep up that type of intensity and performance and even mentally be ready game-in game-out. You need rotation.”

Who to Watch

The Knights lead the AAC with three players on the Preseason All-Conference Team in GK Caroline DeLisle, F Kristen Scott, and D Darya Rajaee. The trio were also all named to the All-AAC First Team at the end of last season.

#1 Caroline DeLisle - Goalkeeper

UCF Athletics

The Tampa native was one of three AAC goalkeepers to face more than 200 shots last season. She ended the season with an 81.2% save percentage, the second-best in the conference.

DeLisle was also selected as this season’s Preseason Goalkeeper of the Year by the conference.

While she could due not having to defend over 200 shots in a season, her goalkeeping proved crucial for the Knights’ continued contention for a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

For more about DeLisle, check out her Know Your Knight article from last year.

#7 Kristen Scott - Forward

UCF Athletics

The Edgewater High School product was the main driver of the UCF offense last season, scoring a career-high 10 goals. Her 44 shots and 23 shots on goal are just under double that of the next highest player on the team.

While last season showed she cannot do it all on her own, she still has a vital role in the team’s offensive success.

#21 Darya Rajaee - Midfielder

UCF Athletics

Fresh off being named to the AAC’s Midfielder of the Year last season, the Gainesville native becomes the most senior member of the midfield this season.

#8 Ariel Young - Defender

UCF Athletics

While not named to the All-AAC 1st Team like DeLisle, Scott, and Rajaee, the Canadian was one of six Knights to start in all 16 games last season and unanimously selected for the AAC All-Rookie team. She will need some backup on the backline, however, since the Knights were outshot by their opponents last season, 210-186.

Who We’ll Miss

#20 Madison Murnin - Midfielder

UCF Athletics

Murnin was the lone fifth-year senior on last year’s team and was one of seven Knights to play in all 16 games, starting in 13 of them.

While she was not one for shooting, with only five shots to her name last season, she did contribute three assists and was a reliable presence in the midfield.

Who’s New That’s Good

#26 Georgia Eaton-Collins - Defender

The England native graduated from Florida a couple months ago with a Sports Management degree and has now transferred to UCF for her final season of eligibility.

Eaton-Collins ranked 3rd on the Gators last season in minutes played after starting in 18 of 19 matches she played in. She also scored two goals on seven shots.

Prior to Florida, Eaton-Collins was a member of England’s U-15, U-16, U-17, and U-19 national teams and named the U-20 Player of the 2017-18 season for Arsenal as the club won the Women’s Super League development championship.

#15 Mia Asenjo - Forward

While technically not a new face per se, the redshirt freshman out of Malverne, New York will make her UCF debut this season after a torn ACL sidelined her for all of 2021.

“I projected that she was going to be a freshmen that would come in and make a huge impact for freshman year for us, and so not having her was a big blow,” Sahaydak said.

This summer, with her rehab complete, Asenjo competed in the USL W League with Queensboro FC, based in Queens, New York. Her 11 goals and 23 points were not only the third-highest in the league that season, but also enough for her to be named to the All-USL W League First Team.

“She's so excited and I’m so excited for her, and the team is excited about her,” Sahaydak said. “She’s going to be a huge impact for us. She’s going to be a big piece of our success.”

Who’s On the Roster

  • 15 Fifth-Years and Seniors
  • 24 returners
  • 3 transfers
  • 4 incoming freshmen
  • 15 Floridians — 7 from Central Florida
  • 9 International players (Canada, New Zealand, France, Spain, Germany, England, Finland)

2022 UCF Women’s Soccer Roster

No. Name Pos Year 2021 School 2021 Stats
No. Name Pos Year 2021 School 2021 Stats
0 Brianna Waggoner GK R-Sr. UCF Did not play
1 Caroline DeLisle GK R-Sr. UCF AAC GK of the Year, 16 Starts, 18 GA, 78 Saves (2nd AAC), 5 Shutouts
2 Olivia Lewis D Sr. UCF 16 Starts
3 Marta Estupinan D Sr. UCF 1 Goal in 12 games
4 Jessica McCullen D Fr. Lyman HS 3-time Team MVP at Lyman
5 Ellie Moreno F Sr. UCF 5 Goals, 5 Ast in 14 games
6 Anna Henderson F R-Sr. UCF 5 Ast in 11 games
7 Kristen Scott F 5th UCF All-AAC 1st Team, 16 Starts, 10 Goals (2nd AAC), 3 Ast
8 Ariel Young D R-So. UCF AAC All-Rookie Team, 2 goals in 16 games
9 Sanja Homann M Sr. UCF 1 Goal, 1 Ast in 8 games
11 Polly Watson M Fr. Manchester United Women's Academy 1 Goal in 4 games for ManU's U21 team
12 Katie Bradley M Jr. UCF 3 Goals, 2 Ast in 16 games
13 Maria Tregansin M R-Fr. UCF Redshirted
14 Mathilde Kack D 5th UCF Started all 16 games
15 Mia Asenjo F R-Fr. UCF Injured all of 2021, 11 goals in 12 games in USL W League this summer
16 Mallory Olsson F 5th UCF 4 Goals in 15 games
17 Dayana Martin F R-Sr. UCF 1 Goal, 1 Ast in 10 games
18 Jade Barkett D R-So. UCF Did not play, played all 7 games in Spring 2021
19 Maggie Jenkins M R-So. UCF 2 Ast in 11 games
20 Annika Huhta M So. North Carolina 11 games
21 Darya Rajaee M 5th UCF AAC Midfielder of the Year, All-AAC 1st Team, 3 Goals, 3 Ast
22 Kailey Scott F R-So. UCF Played only one game due to injury
23 Talia Gabarra F Sr. UCF 2 Ast in 16 games
24 Emma Agin M Jr. UCF 1 Ast in 2 games
25 Brooke Mulroney M Fr. Thayer Academy (MA) Initially committed to Boston College
26 Georgia Eaton-Collins D 5th Florida 2 Goals, 1 Ast in 19 games at UF
27 Jade Steele M Jr. UCF 6 games
28 Audrey Buck D Fr. Melbourne Beach HS Played for Orlando Pride Developmental Program
30 Lizah Pistorio GK R-Jr. UCF Did not play
32 Tianna Hogan F R-So. UCF Did not play
51 Kelis Barton D 5th Washington State 1 Ast in 17 games

The Schedule

In eight non-conference games, UCF faces four teams that made the NCAA Tournament last year and two others who came within one game of making it.

In the conference, the Knights’ slate is heavily bookended, as they start AAC play with the reigning AAC Tournament champs and preseason favorites from Memphis, and end with back-to-back tough matches with Houston at home and at South Florida.

UCF Women’s Soccer 2022 Schedule

Date Day H/A Time Opponent Conf - Preseason Rank Coaches Poll 2021 RPI UCF's Result LY Last Season
Date Day H/A Time Opponent Conf - Preseason Rank Coaches Poll 2021 RPI UCF's Result LY Last Season
Aug 18 Thu H 6 p.m. Florida SEC - Last - 4-12-4 123 Won 2-1 12th in SEC
Aug 21 Sun A 1 p.m. LSU SEC - 10th - 11-8-1 49 Lost 2-0 Lost NCAA 1st Round to Memphis
Aug 25 Thu A 5 p.m. Utah Valley WAC - 2nd - 13-7-2 75 - Lost in WAC Championship
Aug 28 Sun H 1 p.m. FGCU ASUN - 2nd - 9-6-1 104 - Won A-Sun East Division, missed NCAAs
Sep 1 Thu A 1 p.m. North Florida ASUN - 5th - 9-4-3 92 - Missed A-SUN Tournament
Sep 4 Sun H 6 p.m. Ole Miss SEC - 9th 18 12-6-3 28 Won 3-0 3rd in SEC, lost in NCAA 1st Round
Sep 11 Sun A 1 p.m. North Carolina ACC - 3rd 10 12-3-3 11 No Contest (Rain) 6th in ACC, Lost NCAA 1st Round to S. Carolina
Sep 15 Thu A 7 p.m. Memphis American - 1st 22 14-5-2 33 Lost 2-1 3rd in AAC, Won AAC Tournament, Lost to (1) Duke in NCAA 2nd Round
Sep 18 Sun A 1 p.m. Texas Big 12 - 2nd RV 11-5-6 39 Won 4-0 2nd in Big 12, Lost NCAA 1st Round to SMU
Sep 29 Thu H 6 p.m. Cincinnati American - T5th - 7-7-3 80 Lost 3-1 7th in AAC
Oct 6 Thu A 7 p.m. Temple American - 7th - 5-8-3 196 Won 5-0 8th in AAC
Oct 9 Sun H 1 p.m. SMU American - T3rd 23 12-5-2 23 Tied 1-1 4th in AAC, Lost NCAA 2nd Round to National Champs Florida St.
Oct 16 Sun A 1 p.m. Tulsa American - Last - 6-9-2 187 Won 3-0 Last in AAC
Oct 20 Thu H 6 p.m. ECU American - 8th - 8-9-2 73 Won 2-0 5th in AAC, Lost in AAC 1st Round
Oct 23 Sun H 1 p.m. Houston American - T5th - 13-5-2 56 Lost, 1-0 2nd in AAC, Lost AAC Semis
Oct 27 Thu A 7 p.m. South Florida American - 2nd - 12-4-3 32 Lost, 2-1 1st in AAC, Lost NCAA 1st Round to NC State
Conference games in bold

American Athletic Conference Tournament

  • Top two teams receive a bye to the semifinals
  • First Round (at 3-seed and 4-seed’s campus): Oct. 30
  • Semifinals (at regular-season champion): Nov. 3
  • Final (at regular-season champion): Nov. 6

The Last Time...

UCF won an NCAA Tournament game: 2014. It was Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak’s second year, and the Knights reached the Sweet 16 after winning The American’s regular season title. The Knights are in the midst of their longest NCAA Tournament drought since 1992-1997.

UCF won The American: 2017. There have been multiple close calls along the way, including a PK stunner in 2016, 1-0 semifinal losses in 2015 (in OT), 2018 and 2019, and a loss on PKs in the final in 2017 at home to South Florida.

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