Saturday, 7:00 PM
UCF (16-4-0; 1st – AAC; WTSR – 1.32, 1st – AAC)
Georgia (10-7-2; 8th – SEC; WTSR – 1.06, T5th – SEC)
They pop up like weeds, don’t they?
What Happened The First Time They Met?
Victims of their game against Florida Atlantic going deep into the night as a result of thunderstorms and their own inability to put away a bad team, UCF also dealt with a long bus ride to Athens for a Sunday afternoon match in which they performed quite poorly. Considering the circumstances, it was hardly a surprise, but in the end, it might have been a defeat that ultimately cost the Knights a national seed when all was said and done.
What’s Changed for Georgia Since That Win?
A lot. Namely the fact that the Bulldogs seemingly did the forty-yard dash backwards over the line as they backed into the tournament in thoroughly unconvincing fashion. After winning four of its first five league games, the club proceeded to win just one of its last seven matches, that one win coming against a hopeless LSU side. The offense, so dangerous for much of the season, scored just four goals in that seven game slide, while the defense has been continuously torched, giving up an average of two goals a game over the last five in which the club are winless.
Is There Any Chance of The Defense Not Getting Flambeed by UCF?
It’s not exactly looking likely. The club is operating with an entirely different center-back pairing than it started out the season with with both Kelsey Nix and Summer Burnett sidelined. As a result, the new center-back pairing is Emma Sonnett and former right-back Carli Shultis, who has looked like a right-back playing center-back. There are questions at left-back as well, where Mariel Gutierrez gave way to Josie Roebuck against Texas A&M twice. Considering Roebuck looked like she had concrete in her boots on the turn against Bianca Brinson in the second meeting, it’s a position that has to be addressed with Tatiana Coleman ready to terrorize foes on that flank. Add in skittish rookie Louise Hogrell in goal, and there are serious, perhaps fatal, issues in defense for UGA.
They Better Win With Offense Then, Right?
Yup. It’s a good thing that the club has the services of Gabby Seiler. After a disappointing rookie season, Seiler’s turned into one of the region’s most dynamic forces in midfield as a sophomore. She’s been shooting less and scoring and assisting more, with nine goals and nine assists, including five strikes in the league to lead the team. The problem is, Seiler dominates the ball, and there’s little else consistent in terms of offense on the squad. Rachel Garcia is a one-dimensional basher at center-forward, and Marion Crowder has looked a shell of herself after returning from an ACL injury. If Seiler can control the game from midfield, Georgia has a chance. If she tries to do too much and doesn’t get help from her teammates, it’s going to be a long night.
Well, At Least UGA Doesn’t Have Rachel Hill.
UCF will be breathing a sigh of relief at that. The Knights are probably sick of the thought of UConn after running the table in the AAC save for losses to the Huskies in the regular season and AAC Tournament semi-final.