For the second consecutive season, the University of Miami soccer team’s season came to a close in Gainesville, Fla.
In the program’s third trip to the NCAA tournament in its 11-year history, the Hurricanes (10-9-3) fell 3-1 to Central Florida (14-5-3) Friday night in the first round at the University of Florida’s James G. Pressly Stadium.
Last season, UM lost 3-0 to host Florida.
The Canes took an early 1-0 lead in the 22nd minute when freshman forward Julianne Rickers blasted a turnaround from 18 yards out over the goalkeeper’s head.
Although Miami controlled possession, senior forward Danielle Dos Santos answered back less than ten minutes later with a shot from close range off a pass from sophomore midfielder Lauren Halbert.
At the 38-minute mark, Halbert scored a goal of her own on a penalty kick for the game winner. Freshman goalkeeper Vikki Alonzo, who blocked a PK earlier in the season, dove to the right while the ball went left.
Dos Santos added her second goal of the game on a rebound in the 65th minute after freshman midfielder Andrea Rodrigues’s corner hit the far post.
“I am extremely disappointed,” head coach Tricia Taliaferro said. “I thought that was one of our best games as far as our performance, effort and ability to create the attack. I think we made some crucial mental errors, and you can’t do that when you play in the NCAA tournament and when you play quality opponents.”
UCF was outshot 14-10, but found the back of the net on three of its six shots on goal. In the first half, the Hurricanes held a 6-1 corner kick advantage.
Sophomore midfielder Brittney Steinbruch played only 26 minutes in her second game back from a hip injury, which caused her to miss nine games this season. She still managed to score eight goals and lead the team in that statistic.
The contest marked the final match for seniors Corynn Carino, Rachael Rigamat and Jordan Ross.
“I think we came out really, really hard and played an awesome game,” Carino said. “We outplayed them the whole game, we just couldn’t get the result that we wanted. I couldn’t be more proud of this team and the entire season. I’m going to miss playing with them.”
On the season, the Canes finished with 10 wins for the fourth time in program history and won their first seven games. Alonzo set a record with 11 shutouts.
“I am extremely proud of our team. The future of Miami soccer is unbelievable,” Taliaferro said. “I think you saw that in the first half of the season when we went 7-0. Unfortunately, we had some injuries, but I think it made us a better soccer team, having to overcome adversity. I look forward to the future.”