[AAC: Women]UCF won the American Athletic Conference regular-season title with a 1-0 victory at SMU that extended the Knights' unbeaten streak to 15 games and completed their first undefeated conference season since 1999 but that was not what Coach Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak asked her players to focus on in Dallas.
“I think sometimes we can all get caught up in breaking records and the results and winning championships," the former U.S. international said. "Obviously, we need to be motivated by that because we are all competitors, but I feel our edge is that we are inspired and motivated by one another because we have such a strong bond and family. I wanted them to focus on fighting for one another, encouraging one another, staying positive for one another.
“Based on the teams that I’ve been on that have won championships, it has always come down to little things and how tight the group is and how willing they are to play for one another. If you do that, that result that you want so badly should be there. Since we got the result that we wanted, I do think that the little things mattered today.”
Freshman Kayla Adamekwon the game when she tapped in Tatiana Coleman's cross to the back left corner of the net for her third game-winner of the season.
“I saw Tati sprinting down the line, so I knew she was going to put it in. I just tried to get in the right spot, and she practically gave me the goal,” Adamek said. “Winning the regular season is one of the best feelings in the world. I hope we take it to the next level.”
AAC TOURNAMENT.UCF, which finished 8-0-1 in the American, will face the winner of Temple-SMU game on Sunday in the quarterfinals.
Louisville (8-1-0 in the American) claimed the No. 2 seed and will host the winner of the other opening-round matchup of Memphis against Houston on Friday. The Cardinals are led by Mexican midfielder Charlyn Corral, the American’s points leader with 36 points on 13 goals and 10 assists.
Rutgers will host Cincinnati and UConn will host USF in the other quarterfinals on Sunday.