Nov. 3, 2013
ORLANDO, Fla. (SMU) - The SMU Mustangs outshot No. 17 UCF 8-6 and drew seven corner kicks in the second half, but it was not enough as a pair of late goals gave the Knights a 3-0 victory over SMU in the American Athletic Conference quarterfinals on Sunday afternoon.
SMU closes its 2013 season with a 9-9-1 overall record, falling to UCF for the second time in a week. UCF won the regular season conference title, and improves to 16-2-2 on its way to the conference semifinals.
After a UCF goal in the first half gave the Knights a 1-0 lead at halftime, SMU came out with confidence in the second frame. The Mustangs had multiple chances to tie the game at 1-1, with the best coming off the foot of Rikki Clarke. Clarke found the ball in the box and directed the ball toward the top-left corner of the goal, but UCF's Lianne Maldonado was able to get her hand on the ball to deflect it past the post. The save proved to be a game-changer, as the Knights would add a second insurance goal just four minutes later to take a 2-0 lead.
"I think we played much better in the second half," SMU Head Coach Chris Petrucelli said. "I thought we were timid in the first half. We were able to get some chances, but the momentum really changed after (Maldonado) made that save with about 18 minutes left."
UCF would add a third goal in the last minute to win the game, 3-0. Although UCF outshot SMU 15-8 for the match, the Mustangs held an 8-6 edge in the second half, and had seven corner kicks in the second half compared to just one for the Knights. Courtney Smith and Bari Kesner led SMU with two shots each.
The loss brings the 2013 season to a close for the Mustangs, who saw some great successes and some close calls against some of the nation's best teams, including these last two matches against a ranked UCF squad that took No. 3 Florida State to overtime earlier in the season.
"I'm encouraged by the progress we've made, and we're not that far off from being a real quality team." Petrucelli said.
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