This past fall season of UCF Knights sports saw one team return to places it has not seen in years, another team continue its run of NCAA Tournament appearances, and another team fall short in its final season in The American.
In this special multi-part Knight Cap, we look back on the seasons of UCF’s fall Olympic Sports and where the program stands as it heads into an offseason of conference transition.
Today, it is Women’s Soccer.
Overall Record: 9-2-7
Conference Record: 7-0-1
Key Wins/Draws: @ Texas, vs. SMU, vs. Cincinnati, @ South Florida, vs. NC State (NCAA Rd. 1), @ UCLA (NCAA Rd. 2)
Hard Losses/Draws: @LSU, @Utah Valley, @ Memphis, vs. Memphis (AAC Semifinal)
- First time UCF has made NCAA Tournament Appearance since 2017.
- First time UCF has made it to 2nd Round of NCAA Tournament since 2014.
- Lost in penalty kicks to eventual national champion UCLA.
Leaving it All Out on the Pitch
Six Knights on the @American_WSoc All-Conference Team pic.twitter.com/1Z8deYsACS— UCF Women's Soccer (@UCF_WSoccer) November 2, 2022
Caroline DeLisle, Dayana Martin, Darya Rajaee, and Kristen Scott have all been with this program since 2018. While DeLisle and Martin have another year of eligibility they can use, 2022 was the last season for these four to play together. Not only did they all play in their first NCAA Tournament match, but all of them were named to the All-AAC First Team. For Martin, it was her first postseason conference honor. It was a repeat effort for DeLisle, Scott, and Rajaee.
Despite being out with injury for four matches, Scott led the AAC in points (23), tied for the conference lead in goals (9), and was one assist away from being in a tie for the most assists in the conference. All of this was en route to Scott becoming the Knights’ 1st AAC Offensive Player of the Year since Morgan Ferrara in 2017.
Scott also etched her name in the UCF record books. Finishing her career with 33 career goals, she sits in a tie with Courtney Whidden (2006-2009) for the 6th-most goals in program history. She also joins Whidden in a now-four-way tie for the 9th-most points in program history and joins the great Michelle Akers (1984-1988) in a tie for the 5th-most game-winning goals in program history, with 10 of them.
Know Your Knight: A Final Shot for Kristen Scott #UCF https://t.co/ewPCmecqFg— Bryson Turner (@itsBrysonTurner) November 3, 2022
Meanwhile, DeLisle matched Vera Varis (2015-2018) by winning her 2nd consecutive AAC Goalkeeper of the Year honor. She finished the season tied for the most shutouts in the conference (9), and with the 2nd-most saves (72).
DeLisle did not just match Varis, but she also exceeded her. After 2022, her 233 career saves are the 4th-most in program history, putting her just ahead of Varis, who finished with 231. She also exceeded Varis’ career shutout mark. DeLisle’s 18 shutouts put her into a tie for the 8th-most in program history with Kim Wyant (1982-1985).
In our latest #KnowYourKnight, we take a look at @carol_delisle’s journey to become the goalkeeper that she is today for @UCF_WSoccer.— Bryson Turner (@itsBrysonTurner) October 31, 2021
Their AAC 1st Round match with Memphis kicks off at 1 p.m. on ESPN+. #UCF https://t.co/QU0ZPX9XcW
As for other all-conference designations, Georgia Eaton-Collins was named to the All-AAC 2nd Team in her first and only season with the Knights after transferring in from Florida. She anchored a backline that Head Coach Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak said throughout the season had more depth than in past seasons.
While she still may be seeking her 1st collegiate goal, Mia Asenjo’s efforts led her to be unanimously selected to the AAC’s All-Rookie Team.
The Sahaydak Redemption
Our coaching staff has led us the entire way and now they’re @American_WSoc Coaching Staff of the Year! pic.twitter.com/te2zVGovHC— UCF Women's Soccer (@UCF_WSoccer) November 2, 2022
After reaching the NCAA Tournament in 4 of her first 5 seasons at the helm, Tiffany Roberts Sahaydek entered 2022 on a four-year NCAA Tournament drought.
Not only was this season the last chance for her to take a group of seniors to the postseason that had never gone before (several of which were coming back for 5th seasons), but she would have to do it while having to step away from the program for brief periods. This year, Saahaydak became an assistant coach with the U.S. Women’s National Team and will be coaching the team through the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. During matches in which Sahaydak was with the national team, which included the team’s 1-0 win over SMU, her husband and associate head coach, Tim Sayahdak, assumed head coaching duties.
For the first time since 2017, Sahaydak made it to the NCAA Tournament, which coincides with the last time she won the AAC’s Coach of the Year Award. Sahaydak may have won it three times before (2013, 2014, and 2017), but in 2022, the AAC Coaching Staff of the Year award lived up to its name.
Let’s Talk About It
Midfielder Darya Rajaee joins the Banneret’s Bryson Turner and Eric Lopez to recap the UCF Women’s Soccer team’s 2022 season: