UCF’s NCAA Tournament run ends with loss to FSU


Ty Wright / Valencia Voice

Megan Fish (left) embraces with Kayla Adamek after the Knights loss to FSU in the Sweet 16.

TALLAHASSEE — The clock struck midnight on UCF’s Cinderella story, as the Knights’ Women’s Soccer team fell to Florida State 1-0 in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA College Cup on Sunday at the Seminole Soccer Complex.

UCF was the only unseeded team remaining in the tournament going into the matchup with FSU, having upset No. 4 seeded Wisconsin in the second round.

“University of Central Florida was very, very competitive,” said FSU head coach Mark Kirkorian after the game. “Fought very hard against us, so I’m proud of our group.”

The Knights kept it close in the first half, getting off six shots, including one by Ashley Spivey that went off the post early in the game. But despite all the good opportunities during the opening half both teams went into the locker rooms at halftime tied at 0-0.

UCF had their best opportunity to to score when Kayla Darden had a breakaway early in the second half, but her cross went into the box to no avail, as Tatiana Coleman was trailing behind. That would be UCF’s best opportunity of the second half.

Kristin Grubka gave Florida State a 1-0 lead in the 59th minute, when she scored off a set piece for the Seminoles.

“We practice it in practice, so players executed it well,” said Grubka of the set piece that led to the games only goal. “I saw it go back behind me so I just turned to try and find a rebound and luckily it came to me and I just tried to hit it on frame and it went in.”

In the second half UCF’s offense struggled, managing only one shot during the final 45 minutes.

“They just came after us,” said UCF head coach Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak about the top-seeded Seminoles. “I think we hung on as long as we could.”

UCF tired getting the equalizer late in the game, but their only shot came from Spivey after she was subbed back in late in the half.

“They fought to the end and I thought defensively we were so solid and didn’t really give them a lot of chances today,” said Roberts Sahaydak about her team. “They really did everything that we asked for and we came up short.”

The loss ends UCF’s season with a record-tying 18 wins on the season and marked the Knights’ first-ever Sweet 16 exit.

UCF will lose five seniors this offseason, including leading scorer Tatiana Coleman and top defender Carleigh Williams. The Knights will return key starters such as Ashley Spivey and goalkeeper Connie Organ, who had two saves during Sunday’s game.

“All you can do is leave your heart all on the field and not have any regrets,” said Roberts Sahaydak of her senior class. “They fought tooth and nail for every 50-50 ball and just that they should be proud, and I’m really proud to say that I got to coach them for two years.”