The third-seeded UCF Knights dominated the six seed Houston Cougars 5-0 in the first round of the American Athletic Conference Championship Sunday at the UCF Soccer and Track Complex.
UCF freshman midfielder Ellie Moreno scored within the first two minutes of the game, setting the offensive tone for the rest of the match. The Winter Park native found the back of the net for her fourth goal of the season thanks to an assist by sophomore forward Kristen Scott.
UCF improves to 10-3-4 this season and Houston falls to 6-13-0. UCF redshirt freshman goalkeeper Caroline DeLisle produced a clean sheet and her 10th shutout performance this season.
UCF sophomore forward Dayana Martin put together a career performance, netting in two back-to-back goals to pad the UCF lead. The Boca Raton, Florida native appeared in one game last year before a season-ending injury.
"I've been waiting for a long time to finally get my confidence up and start scoring goals," Martin said.
She went on to talk about how the team has improved on their execution.
"As a team we've been really trying to focus on executing the last few games we've had some overtimes that have ended in 0-0, so this is really important for us going into the semi-final," Martin said.
UCF redshirt senior forward Jessica Taylor finished off what would be her final match at home with the final goal of the game during the 66th minute.
“I just touch it, I barely touch it and everyone else does all the work and it just happens to go into the back of the net," Taylor said. "It’s really a team effort. We’ve struggled in the past with executing just with every game."
Taylor said the feeling of the postseason is one that brings a new state of mind.
"It’s like a new season for us," Taylor said. "It’s a new season, new grind, new mindset."
UCF head coach Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak said the team is fired up for the upcoming game against the USF Bulls.
“They’re a team that we play with a lot of emotion and a lot of passion and our plan is to be able to come out with that same spunk and that same competitiveness again,” Sahaydak said.
The Knights will take on the second-seeded Bulls (12-4-0) Thursday in Memphis in the American Athletic Conference Championship semi-finals. The last time UCF faced USF, the Knights came away with a 1-0 victory in Orlando.