UCF women’s soccer team (17-4-1) is set to host Miami for the first round of the NCAA tournament this Saturday at 6 p.m. at the UCF Soccer Complex.
Head coach Amanda Cromwell has coached the UCF Knights to the sixth straight NCAA tournament appearance.
Last season, UCF made it to the Elite Eight and this year they have their mind set on the Final Four. But to get there they will first have to make it through their bracket, which consists of No. 2 seed Florida (17-4-1), Florida Gulf Coast (14-3-3) and as previously mentioned Miami (19-2-1).
The Knights path to the Final Four won’t be an easy one.
If they get past their bracket, they will have face the winner of the Notre Dame, Milwaukee, Georgia Southern and Wake Forest bracket. If they beat the winner of that bracket they will be on their way to the Elite Eight and one step closer to the Final Four.
Looking at the task at hand, UCF will have to first get past the Hurricanes. The Knights battled the Canes earlier this season in a thrilling overtime match. UCF walked away with the ‘W’ after senior Nicolette Radovcic scored the golden goal.
“We played them [Miami] earlier in the year. We beat them in over time so it’s going to be a tough game,” Cromwell said.
From all angles of the game the Knights have strong team. From the offensive perspective they are very aggressive. UCF averages 2.41 goals per game, while their opponents average .50 goals a game.
Senior Nicolette Radovcic leads the team with 12 goals and three assists. While fellow senior Tishia Jewell leads the team with 10 assists and seven goals and is up for the Senior Class Award.
“We have shots coming from our defensive as well as our offense. We get on the attack no matter where we are on the field,” Jewell said during a phone interview earlier in the week.
From the defensive stand point, the Knights has a strong defensive wall. UCF have shutout 15 out of 22 teams they’ve played this year and currently hold a seven-shutout streak.
“Our back line and our defensive mids are so good. They deny any dangerous opportunities,” Cromwell said.
One of the players responsible for UCF’s successful defense is junior Marissa Diggs. Diggs was named C-USA Defensive Player of the Year last Sunday after the Knights won the C-USA Tournament.
“Our backline is awesome. They played together last year and I think that the second year of experience is definitely showing this year. Bianca [Joswiak], Ash[ley] Nicol, Marissa [Diggs] and Carleigh [Williams] are phenomenal in the back. I think we have one of the best defenses in the country,” Radovcic said.
Amanda Cromwell was on the David Baumann Show Thursday morning:[audio:1080/davidbaumann/DB_11-8-12_Cromwell.mp3|titles= Amanda Cromwell on David Baumann Show]
This is UCF’s 17th NCAA appearance.
The Knights made it to the Elite Eight last year for the first time since 1987.
UCF has shut out 15 out of 22 opponents this year.
Senior Tishia Jewell is up for the Senior Class Award, which is partly decided by fans votes. Click here to vote: http://www.seniorclassaward.com/vote/DI_womens_soccer_2012/
Click here to view the full NCAA Bracket
Florida- 8 RPI 17-4-1 Southeastern
UCF-17 RPI 17-4-1 Conference USA
Miami 50 RPI 19-2-1 Mid-American
FGCU 53 RPI 14-3-3 Atlantic Coast