Sept. 6, 2009
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - With two first-half goals and strong defense late, UCF (2-1-0) held off Georgia Southern (0-2-0) 2-1 Sunday afternoon in men's non-conference soccer action at the UCF Soccer Complex. The victory left the Knights with two wins on the weekend in their own tournament, the UCF Fall Classic.
"The boys were confident coming into the weekend that we could get two wins," said head coach Bryan Cunningham. "We knew they would both be difficult games, but they played well and persevered. Today against a feisty Georgia Southern team we were able to hold off for the win."
Junior Gianni Piccoletti used his 6-foot-3 frame to control a cross in the box in the 16th minute before firing a shot from eight yards past the keeper for the early 1-0 lead. The marker was the first of the season for the FAU transfer. Sophomore Spencer Scott tallied the assist on the score.
For the second-straight game, UCF scored consecutive goals in a short span, tallying another goal in the 19th minute. Coming up from his defender's spot, freshman Ben Hunt (Auckland, New Zealand) headed a cross from fellow freshman Andrew Quintana (Miami, Fla.) off the crossbar and into the net for a 2-0 lead.
UCF had 10 shots in the opening 45 minutes while holding the visitors to just four, and the Knights went into the break with a 2-0 lead.
In the 54th minute, a foul in the box set up a penalty kick for Georgia Southern, and Danny Hall was able to find the net to cut the Knights' edge to 2-1.
Numerous exciting plays on both sides of the ball highlighted the final 30 minutes as UCF fought to hold the lead. In the 62nd minute, redshirt freshman keeper made the most impressive save of his young career as he made a diving save on a shot by GSU's Matt Crowell.
Less than five minutes later, UCF junior Yaron Bacher
(Atlanta, Ga.) ripped a shot from outside the box only to see Joey Ralph make a diving save and deflect the ball away.
Each of Bacher's four shots were on goal as the Knights finished the game with 22 shots and 11 on target. Freshman Nicholas Keown-Robson (Auckland, New Zealand) led UCF with five shots and added an assist.
Doyle was at it again in the 68th minute, leaping to deflect Witt Carlisle's header over the crossbar to preserve the lead. The freshman made five saves on the afternoon.
"He has done a great job thus far," Cunningham said of Doyle. "We have been working hard with him on his range and obviously it paid off today. He made a couple of great saves."
Through three games this season, UCF has already tallied 57 shots, including 29 on goal. The team is already nearly a third of the way to the Knights' 2008 shot total of 183. UCF is averaging nearly 10 more shots per game in 2009 than 2008.
UCF will get six days off before hitting the road to play at Jacksonville Saturday, Sept. 12, at 7 p.m.
For the latest news on the Knights, log on to www.UCFAthletics.com - the official site for UCF varsity sports. The site, which also contains ticket and Golden Knights Club donor information, is also the home of UCF's new online apparel store. Also visit www.UCFPhotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.
2009 UCF Men's Soccer Game Summary
GSU (0-2-0) vs. UCF (2-1-0)
Date: Sep 06, 2009 Attendance: 373
Weather: partly cloudy
Goals by period 1 2 Tot
GSU....................... 0 1 - 1
UCF....................... 2 0 - 2
1. 15:09 UCF Piccoletti, Gianni (1) (Scott, Spencer) - controlled ball in box, shot from right
2. 18:45 UCF HUNT, Benjamin (1) (Quintana, Andrew;ROBSON, Nik) - cross to header off crossbar
3. 53:46 GSU Danny Hall (1) Penalty kick
Shots: GSU 9, UCF 22
Saves: GSU 9 (Joey Ralph 9), UCF 5 (Doyle, Shawn 5)
Corner Kicks: GSU 6, UCF 9
Fouls: GSU 17, UCF 17