The UCF Knights Women’s Soccer team began the 2022-23 athletic year Thursday night with a season-opening home shutout of the Florida Gators, 3-0.
We were ' at the bit last night pic.twitter.com/FLz1jLLfku— UCF Women's Soccer (@UCF_WSoccer) August 19, 2022
The victory also served as head coach Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak’s 100th win as the Knights’ head coach as she begins her 10th season with the program.
“Tim [Sahaydak] and I just feel so thankful and proud because those wins belong to all the players that have played for us here at UCF,” Sahaydak said. “We’re very thankful to have been in this position.”
When you reach 100 wins... you get an ice bath #ChargeOn pic.twitter.com/vIFoQBjDjM— UCF Women's Soccer (@UCF_WSoccer) August 19, 2022
Fifth-year senior forward Kristen Scott has been a part of 21 of Sahaydak’s 100 wins. Scott said her head coach has a special place in her heart after developing her for such a long time.
“I’m super grateful for everything for everything she’s done for me,” Scott said. “I’m just really happy that I could put one in the net for her 100th win.”
Scott opened the scoring off an assist from true freshman midfielder Polly Watson. Scott maneuvered her way around a Gator defender and the goalkeeper to score in the 54th minute.
Polly ➡️ Kristen ➡️ Back of the net!#ChargeOn pic.twitter.com/773gDlfB5W— UCF Women's Soccer (@UCF_WSoccer) August 18, 2022
Fellow forwards Dayana Martin and Mallory Olsson also notched their first goals of the season as well in the 76th and 81st minute respectively, giving the Knights some insurance.
“You’re gonna see a lot of players make a difference on our team this year,” Sahaydak said. “I don’t think we have just 11 starters. We have multiple starters on this team that can make a huge difference and if you’re coming off the bench, the expectation is that you are a game changer and we proved that today.”
Defensively, the back line held firm as the Gators were awarded six corner kicks to the Knights’ one, but failed to score.
The unit also showed off its newly acquired depth. With sophomore defender Ariel Young out due to a sprained ankle, according to Sahaydak, a couple of the team’s new transfers had the chance to shine in their UCF debuts.
Defender Kelis Barton, arriving from Washington State, came off the bench to play 45 minutes and managed to get a shot on goal off in that time. Meanwhile, fellow defender Georgia Eaton-Collins, entering her final year of collegiate eligibility, went the full 90 minutes playing against her former program.
“Obviously, it’s a bittersweet moment,” Eaton-Collins said. “I have a lot of respect for that program, but obviously I’m here to win. I’m here with a new program and I want to go out on my fifth year with a bang.”
The Knights may have opened their season at home with a victory over an SEC opponent, but this weekend they will attempt to repeat the feat on the road. The team travels to Baton Rouge on Sunday at 2 p.m. to play the LSU Tigers.
“Winning your first match, it just kicks off the vibe for your season and you want to go into your next game feeling confident,” Sahaydak said. “The players are doing a great job of just managing their emotions and they’re gonna enjoy the win tonight, but they’ll refocus and they’ll know they have a huge game on Sunday against LSU.”
smacked ‘em silly @UCF_WSoccer pic.twitter.com/rsCXGHVnPK— UCF Knights (@UCFKnights) August 19, 2022