Oct. 7, 2010
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By Pat Salvas
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF men's soccer team is gaining a lot of attention the last few days.
Although the program has been on the rise since head coach Bryan Cunningham took over for the 2007 season, this week has stood out as there have been several firsts for the Knights.
It started with the program's first ever win against a top-10 team Saturday against No. 5 SMU, 2-1. Monday afternoon saw Knights Insider John Denton make his first appearance at practice to talk about the early season success with head coach Bryan Cunningham and several players. Tuesday began with the Knights making their first appearance in a nation poll, landing at No. 24 in the most recent Soccer America rankings and ended with a win against Florida International, 2-0.
Spencer Scott (Palm City, Fla.) received individual attention on Monday, garnering Conference-USA Co-Offensive Player of the Week honors and a spot on the College Soccer News National Team of the Week for his game-winning goal against the Mustangs on Saturday night in front of a record crowd at the UCF Soccer Complex.
The Knights did not let the recognition and accolades get in the way of their goals, however. Immediately turning the page on the SMU game, UCF began to focus on Tuesday night's matchup with FIU.
A televised game against an in-state, conference foe would have been a scenario where a misstep would have been expected. However, the 2010 edition of the Knights have a different makeup than previous years, defeating the Golden Panthers, 2-0, on tallies from first-time goal scorers Eduardo Jimenez (San Juan, Puerto Rico) and Luiz Yamashita (Sao Paulo Brazil).
"This win tonight really validated what we did against SMU," Yamashita said following Tuesday's victory.
"Right after the game against SMU, coach began to talk about how tough this game was going to be," Jimenez added. "He really wanted us to start thinking about FIU immediately after Saturday because he knew that this was going to be a hard game to win."
UCF has already surpassed its overall and conference win totals from a year ago. The Knights are 7-2 overall and are 3-0 in C-USA play for the first time since joining the league in 2005.
"I am really pleased with where we are right now," Cunningham said. "Everything to this date has been because of hard work. I just want this team to build on what we have done already for the rest of the season to continue this play."
The Knights will look to go 4-0 in C-USA play when it hosts Memphis Saturday night at 7 p.m.