SMU doesn't relinquish early lead in upset of No. 8 Central Florida
ORLANDO, Fla. -- The SMU Mustangs received goals from Olivia Elliott and Rikki Clarke, and goalkeeper Lauryn Bodden had a standout performance in goal as SMU defeated No. 8 UCF 2-1 in Orlando, Fla., on Sunday.
SMU has now beaten the Knights for the second year in a row. The Knights were ranked No. 19 when SMU was victorious last season. The Mustangs are now 6-6-2 this season.
Lauryn Bodden came up with multiple big saves for the Mustangs, none larger than her save with nine seconds remaining off of a last-minute UCF corner kick. The Knights applied pressure on the SMU defense as the second half progressed, but the Mustangs held tough. Head Coach Chris Petrucelli gave a lot of credit to the defensive mindset of the entire team.
"Overall, defensively we were able to hold them out," Petrucelli said. "The whole team did a good job of keeping them out, not just Lauryn [Bodden]. We settled in and didn't let them past us."
Olivia Elliott got SMU on the scoreboard first with a goal in the 17th minute. Elliott found a rebound inside the box and redirected the ball just past UCF goalkeeper Lianne Maldonado. The entire first half was evenly played, with both teams exchanging possession equally.
Rikki Clarke gave the Mustangs a 2-0 lead in the 54th minute when she crept the ball inside the far post off a feed from Shelby Redman. The goal was Clarke's third of the season, and Redman's assist gives her 18 points on the season, extending her team-leading total. Bodden posted seven saves, a career-high. Mallory Baum tallied an assist on both of SMU's goals.
UCF cut the lead to 2-1 with a goal from Sophie Howard at the 81:43 mark. Howard found some room outside the top of the box and was able to fire a shot past Bodden.
The Mustangs lost in overtime in their season opener on Aug. 17 against San Diego State, who is now the No. 10 team in the nation. SMU also nearly beat No.25 Baylor, falling in extra time to the Bears on Sept. 14.
"I think all along we felt we were capable of winning a lot of games," Petrucelli said. "Hopefully this propels us forward."