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By Pat Salvas
AMHERST, Mass. (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF men's soccer team looked like it was headed for its first overtime game of the season when Tyler Cleverdon scored with 41 seconds remaining in regulation to lift UMass to the 2-1 win. The loss is just the second of the season for the Knights, dropping their record to 3-2, while the Minutemen picked up their first win of 2010 to improve to 1-1-2.
"We played well in spurts," said head coach Bryan Cunningham. "It is disappointing to lose a game like this and give up two goals like we did."
Neither team scored in the first 45 minutes of play, but the early stages of the second half saw consecutive goals coming less than two minutes apart.
Sophomore Nik Robson opened the scoring with a breakaway goal in the 53rd minute. The second-year UCF forward beat UMass keeper Shane Curran-Hays from 10 yards out after getting behind the defense. Warren Creavalle picked up an assist on the goal, feeding Robson the pass.
The Knights' 1-0 lead was short-lived as Brett Canepa's first goal of the season came just 1:35 after Robson's tally to tie the game for the Minutemen. Canepa was able to head the ball past UCF goalkeeper Shawn Doyle after Chris Vaccaro putting a crossing pass into the box for equalizer.
With the two teams combining for 11 shots in the final half and both goalies equal to the task, the contest seemed destined for extra time.
Another header would end those hopes of overtime for the Knights as Cleverdon's ball from six yards out found room in the top right corner of the net for the game-winning goal in the 90th minute.
Again it was a crossing pass that resulted in the goal for UMass as Cleverdon's tally was assisted by Morgan Brandso with a secondary assist from Chris Rosswess.
Doyle turned aside four shots in the game and has allowed just three goals all season, including the two on Friday. Curran-Hays made five saves in the game to earn his first win of the season.
The Knights will look to rebound on Sunday when they travel to West Point, N.Y., to take on Army with kick-off set for 1 p.m.