11/17/2011 | Orlando, Fla. | Attendance: 535
, REED, Malcolm)
|Stats at a Glance||FGCU||UCF|
|Shots (on Goal)||17 (7)||15 (4)|
ORLANDO, Fla. – In the opening round of the NCAA Championship, the FGCU men’s soccer team fell to host UCF, 1-0, in double-overtime on Thursday at the UCF Soccer Complex in Orlando, Fla. Controlling the pace of play for the majority of the match, the Eagles surrendered the golden goal to the Knights in the 107th minute of play.
“It was a good NCAA game. Although the outcome wasn’t what we would have liked, the game had excitement, momentum swings and everything you would want in a contest of this magnitude,” said A-Sun Coach of the Year Bob Butehorn. “I think that we executed a good gameplan, but unfortunately it just didn’t fall our way. We played very well and I fell that it was a game that we felt we had complete control over. Overall, I am very pleased with the way the team competed tonight.”
Earning the Atlantic Sun Conference’s automatic berth into the NCAA Championship in their first year of postseason eligibility after winning the league’s regular season and tournament title, the Eagles wrap up the 2011 campaign holding a 12-6-2 (7-1 A-Sun) record. Meanwhile, UCF will take its 12-5-3 record into the second round matchup with seventh-seeded USF on Sunday.
Finding good opportunities early in the game, the Eagles were able to record the first seven shots of contest. Junior midfielder Andres Navas (Miami, Fla./Sunset Senior HS/FIU) sent the Green and Blue’s first shot on goal at the two minute mark. Just a few ticks later, UCF keeper Sebastian Evers was forced to make his second and third saves of the frame off shots by midfielders Jeremy Vollmer (Carmel, Ind./Westfield HS) and Josey Portillo (Metairie, La./Grace King HS) at the 4:54 and 6:21 marks, respectively.
UCF also found some scoring chances in the opening period. In the 14th minute of play, Spencer Scott sent a cross from the left side of the field to the far side of the box and a header attempt by McKauly Tulloch went just wide of the upper left 90. The Knights also pieced together a chance at goal in the 19th minute but the finishing shot by Scott was fired high of the net.
With their lone corner kick of the first half, the Green and Blue nearly found the back of the net as time was winding down. The serve by freshman defender Federico Crespo (Heredia, Costa Rica/St. Paul College/Universidad Latina) found senior midfield captain Cristian Raudales (Bradenton, Fla./Manatee HS) on the far post, but the header attempt was saved by Evers for his fourth of the game.
In the scoreless opening period, the Eagles held a 10-8 lead in the shots column, while the Knights claimed a slight 2-1 advantage in corners.
As the second half resumed, the Knights almost broke the deadlock as Ben Hunt put a shot on goal in 57th minute which found the back of the net. However, the scoring strike was disallowed due to offside on the Knights.
In the 76th minute of the contest, a foul on UCF set up an FGCU restart from about 40 yards out. Junior free-kick specialist Deion Jones (Tampa, Fla./Freedom HS) approached the ball and sent it on goal to the upper right corner, but Evers was there to send the shot away and keep the game level at 0-0.
Late in the contest UCF had its chance at a free kick following a foul on FGCU. After the initial cross into the box, the rebound was collected by Eduardo Jimenez and fired off the near post in the 85th minute. The ricochet would prove to be the last real scoring chance for either side as regulation ended scoreless and the match headed to overtime.
After another scoreless 10 minutes of play, the teams headed to a second overtime frame with the Eagles holding a 16-14 lead in shots and a 6-4 advantage in corner kicks. The Green and Blue’s final shot on goal came at the 103:56 mark when Navas forced Evers to make his last of seven saves on the night. Three minutes later, the Knights provided the decisive strike at the 107:00 mark as Kevan George was setup by Matthew Gaskin and Malcolm Reed for his second goal of the year.
For the game, the Eagles controlled the shot column, 17-15, and shots on goal tally, 7-4, while the Knights led in corners 6-4. Freshman goalkeeper Nathan Ingham (Ontario, Canada/Keswick HS) recorded three saves on the night.
Following one of the most memorable seasons in the brief five-year history of the program, the Eagles now head into the offseason where they prepare to defend their back-to-back A-Sun regular season crowns, as well as, their first-ever A-Sun Tournament Championship.