The Hurricanes were unable to pull out a victory after a hard-fought match Sunday at Cobb Stadium, where the team lost to Central Florida 4-3 in extra time.
Both teams got off to a fast start, with UCF (3-1) striking first. The Knights scored off a header in the 10th minute, and the Hurricanes quickly retaliated with a shot three minutes later that missed wide.
The Canes struggled to win balls in the air and connect passes once in the final third, something that would hurt them as the game progressed.
Keeping with the back-and-forth nature of the game, the Knights once again found the back of the net in the 20th minute, putting them up 2-0. The Hurricanes brought in fresh legs, but it was not enough to prevent UCF from scoring its third goal of the game in the 27th minute.
In typical South Florida fashion, the clouds began to roll in as the first 45 minutes came to a close. Neither team was deterred by the inclement weather, which caused a 30-minute delay at halftime.
Hurricanes head coach Mary-Frances Monroe was not impressed with her team’s first half showing.
“First 45 minutes, we didn’t show up at all,” Monroe said.
Midfielder Erin McGovern got a shot off early in the game, but she too was disappointed in how the team played in the first half.
“We came out too slow in the first half,” the redshirt senior said. “We let ourselves go down 3-0, which should never have been the case.”
After an elongated halftime, the Hurricanes came out strong, getting an early opportunity and attacking the Knights’ defense with pace. Miami’s forwards put high pressure on the keeper, and on the other end of the field, Hurricanes goalkeeper Catalina Perez commanded the box. The redshirt sophomore entered the game in the second half and held UCF scoreless for the second 45 minutes of the match.
The Hurricanes were finally able to convert in the 54th minute, when McGovern scored off a set piece from junior defender Gianna Dal Pozzo.
Momentum for the Hurricanes grew, and in the 83rd minute of the match, senior forward Amy Schmidt overpowered the defense and slipped the ball past the keeper to bring the score to 3-2.
With time running out and the Knights’ defense scrambling to hold off the Hurricanes, McGovern found the back of the net for the second time, tying the game up at 3 and sending it to extra time.
In the 104th minute, with the ball bouncing around dangerously in the box, UCF fired the winning shot. It was the only shot of the night to get past Perez.
Despite the loss, the Hurricanes remained optimistic following the game.
“This team fights, and you obviously saw it in the second half,” Monroe said of her team’s improved performance after halftime. “We’ll just prepare and focus on ourselves and the little things that we need to do better in the attacking third and the defending third.”
McGovern stepped up and gave Miami (0-3) a much-needed boost in the second half, and although it was not enough get the win, she sees this game as a learning opportunity going forward.
“Unfortunately, we came up a little short, but hopefully we learn from this. We keep this in the back of our heads so we can do well for the rest of the season,” McGovern said.
The Hurricanes’ next game will be in on Friday in Boca Raton at 7 p.m. where they will take on Florida Atlantic.
Featured image courtesy HurricaneSports.com