Mustangs Meet No. 20 UCF In C-USA Semifinals
Nov. 1, 2012
The Last Meeting
October 7, 2012
SMU is 5-7 all-time against UCF, including the Mustangs win over the Knights on Oct. 7, when UCF was ranked No. 8 in the nation. The two squads have experience playing in the C-USA semifinals, with the Knights winning 2-0 in the 2010 semis. SMU has won each of the last two meetings, taking the 2011 regular season matchup against a No. 19 UCF team 1-0 at Westcott Field. Prior to last season, the Knights had won five straight over the Mustangs.
ABOUT THE KNIGHTS
HOT AT THE RIGHT TIME
(PREVIOUS MEETING) SMU UPSETS NO. 8 UCF ON THE ROAD, 2-1
SMU has now beaten the Knights for a second straight year. The Knights were ranked No. 19 when SMU was victorious last season. The Mustangs are now 6-6-2 (2-2-2 C-USA) in 2012.
Lauryn Bodden came up with multiple big saves for the Mustangs, and none larger than her save with nine seconds remaining off of a last-minute UCF corner kick. The Knights applied a lot of pressure on the SMU defense as the second half progressed, but the Mustangs held tough. Head Coach Chris Petrucelli gave a lot of credit to the defensive mindset the entire team had.
"Overall, defensively we were able to hold them out," Petrucelli said. "The whole team did a good job of keeping them out, not just Lauryn (Bodden). We settled in and didn't let them past us."
Olivia Elliott got SMU on the scoreboard first with a goal in the 17th minute. Elliott found a rebound inside the box and redirected the ball just past UCF goalkeeper Lianne Maldonado. The entire first half was quite evenly played, with both teams exchanging possession fairly equally. Rikki Clarke gave the Mustangs a 2-0 lead in the 54th minute when she crept the ball inside the far post off a feed from Shelby Redman. The goal was Clarke's third of the season, and Redman's assist gives her 18 points on the season, extending her team-leading total. Bodden posted seven saves, a career-high. Mallory Baum tallied an assist on both of SMU's goals.
UCF cut the lead to 2-1 with a goal from Sophie Howard at the 81:43 mark. Howard found some room outside the top of the box and was able to fire a shot past the otherwise unblemished Bodden.
SMU has had confidence all season that it can compete with anyone and be victorious. The Mustangs lost in overtime in their season opener on Aug. 17 against San Diego State, who is now the No. 10 team in the nation. SMU also nearly beat now-No.25 Baylor, falling in extra time to the Bears on Sept. 14.
"I think all along we felt we were capable of winning a lot of games," Petrucelli said. "Hopefully this propels us forward."
SMU's next game is on Friday at East Carolina. Kickoff is slated for 6 p.m. CT. The Mustangs lost to ECU 1-0 in overtime at Westcott Field last season.
NOTES FROM RECENT CONTESTS
PETRUCELLI SEEKS WIN NO. 350
ABOUT THE CONFERENCE USA TOURNAMENT (FROM C-USA)
MUSTANGS TROT INTO C-USA SEMIFINALS WITH 3-1 WIN OVER RICE
Rice (11-7-3) was on the attack for a good portion of the opening stages of the game, but SMU's back line stood strong all half. The Mustangs (9-7-4) opened the scoring at the 42 minute mark when Larson got her head on a corner kick from Mallory Baum. Larson managed to tuck the ball just off the underside of the crossbar, giving SMU the lead and a morale boost that lingered throughout the game.
The Mustangs came out of halftime with vigor, attacking down both sides well. Kenzie Scovill earned a corner kick with an aggressive attack down the left side, and Olivia Elliott did the same a few minutes later down the right. SMU's aggressive nature was rewarded at the 65th minute. Courtney Smith threw the ball into Redman at the near post, who redirected the ball to the opposite corner of the box to Clarke. Clarke made a terrific first touch with her left foot that got her into some open space, then the sophomore finished the sequence with a lovely left-footed ball into the lower-left side of the net.
Clarke credited her strong second half to Head Coach Chris Petrucelli's comments at halftime.
"He took a lot of us aside, me individually, and he said that I needed to pick it up," Clarke, who was named Second Team All-C-USA on Tuesday, said. "I came out in the second half and tried to pick it up. I thought we did a really good job in the second half."
Rice was able to answer back in the 67th minute when Holly Hargreaves picked up a rebound in front of goal and drilled it home. Lauryn Bodden saved an initial shot by Lauren Hughes, but could not control the ball.
Just three minutes later, however, Redman responded after Elliott fed her at the far post, giving Redman plenty of room to fire one home to extend SMU's lead back to two goals.
With three different scorers on Wednesday evening, Coach Petrucelli was satisfied about his offense. However, he was most excited about how his defense played.
"All year long I've said I felt we had a number of people that could score, but the credit tonight goes to the defense," Petrucelli said. "Last time we played (Rice), we gave up three goals. We needed to shut down a team that exposed us in the past. The real credit goes to that back four that played extremely well."
The defensive mindset displayed by SMU differed from its usual offensively-focused attitude. Each Mustang defender marked their opposition well all game, rarely giving the Owls any room to operate.
FOUR MUSTANGS GRAB ALL-CONFERENCE HONORS (Oct. 30)
Mallory Baum earned First Team All-C-USA for the second straight season. Baum continued her solid midfield play in 2012, something she has carried with her all four years at SMU. Baum made the All-Freshman team in 2009. This season, the Keller, Texas, native has tallied 10 points (2g, 6a). One of Baum's goals was a penalty kick game-winner against UTEP on Sept. 28. Baum was also acknowledged for her schoolwork and community leadership with a nomination for the Senior CLASS Award in September. Baum was also named to the C-USA First Team All-Academic team on Wednesday.
Shelby Redman was tagged as a Second Team All-C-USA honoree after a breakout season that saw Redman post a team-leading 22 points (8g, 6a). The sophomore was second on the team in goals and led the team in shots with 59. Redman has two game-winners in 2012, including a thrilling last-second 40-yard bomb that lifted SMU past rival TCU in Fort Worth.
Rikki Clarke also took Second Team All-Conference recognition. The sophomore midfielder tied for fourth on the team in points with 10 (3g, 4a), with all three of her goals coming during conference play. Clarke was an All-Freshman team member a year ago.
Courtney Smith, a defender from Plano, Texas, had another solid season and earned Third Team All-C-USA honors for the second consecutive year. Smith posted a league-leading nine assists, and always made SMU a threat on the attack when the ball was on her left foot. Smith takes a majority of the Mustangs' set pieces, and is usually able to place the ball with extreme precision, giving SMU's offense an extra boost in every game. Smith is currently 18th in the nation in assists.