UCF’s Women’s Soccer program has clearly established itself as the most consistently successful program among all of UCF’s sports. After a fantastic season under a new coaching staff, the Knights come into 2014 ranked 23rd in the national preseason coaches’ poll, and conference coaches picked them to defend their conference title from last season. Here’s a look ahead at what you need to know heading into their 2014 season:
16-3-4 overall, 8-0-1 in the American Athletic Conference. In their first season under a new coach, the Knights ripped off an unbeaten conference season for the first time since 1999 and won the AAC Regular Season and Tournament titles. They set a school record by going 18 consecutive matches without a loss from September 1st through November 15th.
Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak – 2nd season at UCF (69-52-23, 16-3-4 at UCF). Sahaydak made a splash in her first season taking over for long-time head coach Amanda Cromwell, leading the Knights to the American Conference Championship and an NCAA Tournament berth, and earning the AAC Coach of the Year award in the process. Just like her predecessor, Cromwell, and UCF great Michelle Akers, Sahaydak is a long-time veteran of the USA Women’s National team, having won an Olympic gold medal in 1996 and the landmark World Cup in 1999. She also played professionally and coached at VCU from 2007-2013 before joining UCF. Her husband, Tim Sahaydak, is her Associate Head Coach at UCF, co-coached with her at VCU, and played three years in MLS.
Listen to Coach Sahaydak’s interview with Eric Lopez, Mary Stevens and Jeff Sharon on The Insiders Show on SportsTalk Florida 1080 The Team in Orlando:
The Knights return eight starters from last year’s club, but here are two key players to watch:
Tatiana Coleman (Senior Forward from Boca Raton, Fla., transferred from Auburn) – Coleman was a revelation last season, leading the team in goals with 10 and points with 28. She landed on the All-AAC First Team, and won the Most Outstanding Offensive Player Award for the tournament. Coleman comes into 2014 a unanimous selection for the AAC’s Preseason All-Conference Team. Before UCF, she was First Team All-SEC and All-SEC Tournament in 2012 while at Auburn.
Lena Petermann (Sophomore Forward from Otterndorf, Germany) – Petermann was third on the team in goal (8) and second in points (20) en route to winning the AAC Rookie of the Year Award and a spot on the All-Conference First Team. She has been picked as the AAC’s Offensive Co-Player of the Year for the preseason. She is currently playing for her native Germany in the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Canada, scoring a goal against Team USA in Group B play. Then in the semifinals, she drove home the game-winning goal in the 81st minute against France on Wednesday night. Petermann and the Germans play Nigeria in the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup Final on Sunday in Montreal.
- 6 players from outside the USA (3 from Germany)
- 12 players from Florida (2 from Central Florida)
- 6 seniors, 9 juniors, 6 sophomores, 7 freshmen
Key Games to Mark on the Calendar
- August 24 vs. Miami (Home opener)
- August 29 at #9 Texas A&M
- September 5 vs. FAU
- September 7 at Georgia
- September 12 vs. Texas (in Tampa)
- September 14 vs. Oregon St.
- September 21 vs. Ole Miss
- September 25 at Memphis
- Sepotember 28 at Tulsa
- October 10 at USF
- October 19 at UConn
- October 26 vs. Cincinnati (Regular Season finale)
Last Conference Title:
Last season. The Knights have won two straight conference tournaments (last year in the AAC and the year before in C-USA), and have won the conference regular season title nine of the past 15 seasons across three different conferences (4 TAAC/Atlantic Sun, 4 C-USA, 1 American)
Last NCAA Appearance:
Last season. UCF has made the NCAA Tournament in 12 of the past 16 seasons, with one quarterfinal appearance (2011), and seven second round appearances. Last year, the Knights were bounced in the first round by St. John’s, 3-1, despite a 26-3 advantage in shots on goal. The loss snapped UCF’s school record 18-match unbeaten streak.
Something to Keep an Eye On:
Amanda Cromwell, whom Tiffany Sahaydak replaced as UCF’s head coach after 14 seasons at the helm, took UCLA to the National Championship in her first season there in 2014. Cromwell’s goalkeeping coach, Aline Reis, was a standout at UCF from 2008-2011. The Bruins are the preseason #1 team in the national coaches’ poll to start 2014.