Women's Soccer Upsets UCF, Advancing to Second Round of NCAA Tournament
In its first-ever NCAA Tournament victory, St. John’s women’s soccer advanced to the contest’s second round by upsetting the No. 9/16 University of Central Florida Knights for a 3-1 win in Orlando on Saturday, November 16.
The Red Storm improved to 12-5-3 after a spectacular performance by freshman keeper Diana Poulin ’17C and goals by Miranda Haraughty ’17CPS and Rachel Daly ’16CPS. “It was a great team effort tonight,” said Ian Stone, the head coach. “Our defense was terrific against a strong UCF offense, and Diana was outstanding in goal. The entire group showed the amount of heart this team has, and they found a way to get it done.”
The Knights (16-3-4), who suffered their first loss in 18 games, came out strong, looking to put pressure on the St. John’s backline. The Knights dotted the scoreboard first with a long-range goal by Tatiana Coleman for a 1-0 score in the 18th minute.
St. John’s responded in just over a minute, evening the game at 1-1 when Haraughty found the back of the net at 18:43 on a cross from Daly. At 21:11 The Red Storm grabbed a 2-1 lead when a UCF defender tried to head a shot by senior midfielder Amy Marron ’14C out of play, sending the ball over the hands of the goalie.
The second half was paced by the efforts of Poulin (12-4-2), who made six hard-earned saves in the final 45 minutes against a UCF offense ranked 22nd in the nation in scoring offense. The Red Storm keeper was flawless, with one diving save after the next to secure the win for the team.
“Diana was simply fantastic,” Stone noted. “For a freshman to have that amount of composure in a NCAA game, against a ranked opponent, is unbelievable. It was the best performance I’ve seen from a St. John’s goalkeeper.”
Daly made sure the Knights were unable to make a late-game comeback when she tallied her NCAA-leading 23rd goal of the season in the 66th minute, giving the Red Storm a 3-1 edge. She had a game-high three points and now has 50 on the season.
The Red Storm was outshot 26-3, but St. John’s made each attempt count as UCF’s keeper Lianne Maldonado (15-3-3) allowed three goals and had no saves.
St. John’s will face the University of Arkansas Razorbacks in the NCAA Tournament’s Second Round in Durham, N.C., on Friday, November 22.