The UCF women's soccer team battled No. 4 South Carolina in the season opener, but dropped a 2-0 decision to the Gamecocks on Friday evening in Stone Stadium.
"I was very proud of our second half performance," head coach Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak said. "Even a man down, I thought we had the ball a lot. We played very nervous in the first half and I think it got the best of us."
The Knights (0-1) were down a player for most of the game after drawing a red card in the 15th minute. The Gamecocks, who held an 11-1 edge on shots, took the 1-0 lead in the 24th minute.
Regrouping at halftime, UCF jumped out to a strong start in the second half. The Knights held a 4-0 advantage on shots to start the second 45 minutes. Morgan Ferrara just missed the equalizer, as her free kick sailed just inches above the crossbar in the 47th minute
South Carolina doubled its lead in the 79th minute for the final score of 2-0.
Freshman Madison Murnin and senior Kathellen Sousa made their UCF debuts in the opener, with both earning their first starts as Knights.
Vera Varis and Chloe N'Gazi split time in goal. Varis, who earned the starting nod, recorded one save while N'Gazi made three saves in the second half.
The Knights return to Orlando to host Stetson on Sunday. The match is slated for a 1 p.m. start at UCF Soccer Complex. Do you have your tickets yet?