ORLANDO -- The Miami Hurricanes mark their return to the NCAA Division I Women's Soccer Championship field Saturday night with an opening-round matchup against No. 18 UCF. Kickoff for the game is set for 6 p.m. from the UCF Soccer and Track Complex.
The Canes will be looking to avenge their regular season loss to the Knights, a 1-0 overtime decision back on Aug 26. Despite registering 12 shots in the contest, Miami was unable to find the back of the net.
"UCF is a great team," head coach Tom Anagnost said. "They are very well-coached. They are disciplined, organized, and know how to win. We are very excited for the opportunity to play them again."
The Hurricanes, one of nine representatives from the Atlantic Coast Conference to qualify for the postseason, are embarking on their second straight postseason campaign under Coach Anagnost. Miami (9-7-3, 4-4-2 ACC) won its first-ever Championship game a season ago, besting Alabama 3-2 in double overtime to advance to the tournament's second round. 2012 will mark the fifth postseason appearance in program history.
Despite losing some key contributors to season-ending injuries, the Hurricanes feature seven returning starters from their 2011 postseason run. One of them, senior defender Ali Brennan, voiced her excitement at the team's chance to redeem itself.
"It was a really upsetting loss, so just having a chance to play them again is awesome," she said.
Assistant coach Matt Kagan agreed.
"We know they're a strong team," Kagan said. "But we think being able to bus and not having to fly, getting on a good schedule, and the fact that we know the team, gives us a good opportunity to be successful."
Both sides have been particularly impressive on the defensive end of the pitch, an important factor in clinching their respective Championship berths. UCF has not allowed a goal since a 2-1 loss to Colorado College back on Oct. 12, and held three opponents scoreless en route to its first Conference-USA Tournament championship.
In need of some late-season magic of their own to clinch a spot in the ACC Championship, the Hurricanes did not allow a single goal over their final four regular season games. The impressive stretch, which included a win over No. 1 Florida State on the last day of the season, came against four ranked teams, and propelled Miami to a No. 7 seed in the conference tournament.
"We're excited. I know the team's going to be ready," assistant coach Jason Hamilton said. "We're looking forward to playing UCF again."A free live stream of the game is available via UCFAthletics.com, or by clicking HERE. For more information on the game, including ticket availability and parking directions, click HERE.