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UCF Forwards Drive FIU into First Season Loss

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UCF Forwards Drive FIU into First Season Loss

In a meeting of two undefeated teams, Florida International University went down to a 24-14 loss to the University of Central Florida in the first game of the New Year in Florida Women's DI college play.

FIU’s forwards were no match for UCF’s dominating aggression in set pieces, and the UCF Knights ultimately quieted the FIU Panthers.

“We were coming back from break and getting back into the groove. We wanted to focus on tackling because we knew they would have size. We didn’t want to stay flatfooted. We didn’t have enough time to work on much else,” FIU scrumhalf Leandria Ates said.

The 20-40 mph winds made it difficult for both teams to have successful back play. Knock-ons forced the forward packs to compete, and UCF continually drove FIU back.

UCF inside center Rachel Mederos scored a hat trick as she took advantage of FIU’s bunched defensive setup. Lock Lauren Hartwell also punched in a try for UCF after the Knights retained ball for 95 yards with pick-and-goes. Flyhalf Jacqueline Edge then added on four more points with two conversions.

“We knew we had to be more physical to beat them at the contact area. We have a big team, but we are mobile for our size,” UCF Coach Raoul Besse said.

However, FIU did not surrender so easily. Although the Panthers had trouble cutting down UCF’s runners, their ability to strip ball mid-run caught the Knights by surprise. This created havoc and allowed FIU to gain yards. 

FIU inside center Brittany Broomfield dotted down five points after picking the ball from a ruck after a particularly impressive defensive push. Wing Alisa Davis continued the aggressive defensive push to intercept a UCF pass and touch down another try. Scrumhalf Leandria Ates followed with two successful conversions. 

“We need to understand that we need an FIU style of play from beginning to end,” Ates said. “It wasn’t a hang your head loss. It was a ‘See you in two weeks.’”

“Our backs should have played better. They took one step too far into the contact point before getting it out. The rematch is going to be tough,” Besse said.

FIU is slated to play the University of South Florida while UCF will play the University of Florida this upcoming weekend - South Florida improved to 3-1 with a 36-29 defeat of FSU Saturday. Although FIU looks forward to the rematch with UCF the weekend after that, UCF is focusing on Life University. However both Ates and Besse commented that with the youth of their teams, fundamentals will be the focus during the next few weeks.


Florida Women DI College W L T PF PA PD BT BL Pts
Central Florida 3 0 0 110 26 74 3 0 15
South Florida 3 1 0 85 104 -26 2 0 14
FIU 2 1 0 112 40 82 2 0 10
Florida State 0 3 0 49 102 -46 1 2 3
Florida 0 3 0 30 114 -84 0 0 0