Cunningham Highlights Spring Improvements



May 1, 2014

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By Nate Blythe

ORLANDO, Fla. - The UCF men's soccer team wrapped up its spring competition on April 5 with a 1-0 victory at Jacksonville. Head coach Bryan Cunningham saw many improvements that his team made during the spring.

"The big thing is that we matured," Cunningham said. "We had our growing pains in the fall, but we saw a big step forward in terms of what it takes to be a top 25 team and winning matches on a consistent basis. The players have become committed in terms of getting fitter, stronger and faster."

Coach Cunningham was pleased with his team's midfield and back four against the Dolphins. The Knights saw junior Sebastian Evers and freshman Parker Dixon tend the team's goal.

Sophomore Romario Williams notched the lone goal for the Knights by capitalizing off a turnover in the Dolphins half of the field.

"We had some mixed results during the spring, but in the end, we were really looking for substance rather than the end result," Cunningham said. "We certainly finished the season strong with a good win at Jacksonville. We did some really positive things, especially in the second half, that were really a product of what we worked on the whole spring."

The Knights as a team were young with 17 underclassmen, but the spring was an opportunity for the coaching staff to see the players make improvements on the field.

"At the end of the day, our freshmen are ready to become sophomores," Cunningham said. "The upperclassmen took a little bit of a different approach in terms of how they dealt with the younger players. They tried to be a little more professional, so they could help them understand the standard that we have set here. Some players really bought into working hard and our commitment to excellence."

The preseason for UCF begins on Aug. 11 with the first day of classes set for Aug. 18.

"We really need for our team come back fit, ready to compete and battle," Cunningham said. "We have a tremendous schedule and must be ready from the start because there are going to be no easy games."



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