Semifinal Showdown

Nov. 14, 2013

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By Jennifer Clark

ORLANDO, Fla. ( – After defeating Memphis in a 2-1 overtime thriller in the American Athletic Conference tournament quarterfinals, UCF men’s soccer will travel to Dallas, where the Knights will take on 11th-ranked Connecticut in The American Championship semifinals at 8:30 p.m. Eastern.

“It's our fourth conference semifinal and third in four years,” said head coach Bryan Cunningham. “Steven Lamberta has been a part of that and we will lean on his experience and leadership. UConn is a tough opponent. They are organized, disciplined and extremely well coached. It will be a tough match. We have to play to our identity and play in the moment, be smart, stay disciplined and work as a unit.”

The winner of the No. 2 UConn/No. 3 UCF semifinal match will face either No. 8 Rutgers or No. 5 USF, who square off on Friday at 5 p.m. The winner of both semifinals matches will play in the title game, which is set for Sunday at 2 p.m. Eastern and will air on ESPN3. All matches will take place at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.

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• The Knights are currently riding a nine-match unbeaten streak, tying the program record after defeating Memphis in the quarterfinal round of The American tournament.
• UCF is 8-4-5 overall and 2-2-2 in road matches.
• The Knights punched its semifinals ticket after freshman Abdi Yusuf scored his first goal of the season in the 7th minute of the sudden-victory overtime to seal the Knights’ victory over Memphis.
• After beating the Tigers, UCF jumped to No. 49 in the latest NCAA RPI rankings.
• The Knights have appeared in three semifinal matches in the last four years and advanced to the NCAA second round twice under head coach Bryan Cunningham.
• Sophomore Romario Williams scored his 10th goal of the season with a game-equalizer against Memphis in The American quarterfinals.
• The Knights’ forward also leads the conference with six game-winning goals this season.
• Knights’ keeper Sebastian Evers has remained at the top of the league standings with a .675 goal against average mark and 42 saves this season.

• UConn enters the semifinals with a 10-2-5 record. They finished the season at 4-0-4 in league play and were picked first in the 2013 American Athletic Conference preseason poll.
• The Huskies have a 2-1-3 record in away matches and have not played any neutral site contests.
• UConn is ranked 11th in the latest NSCAA polls.
• While the Huskies suffered no losses in conference play, they did earn four draws, with two coming against tournament competitors UCF and USF.
• Cyle Larin leads the Huskies with 10 goals this season, while Adria Beso has dished out eight assists.
• Andre Blake has 26 saves for the Huskies.
• UConn went 17-4-1 and 6-2-0 in league play a year ago and advanced to the NCAA Championship quarterfinals.
• Larin tops The American in shots and shots per game with 70 and 4.12 avg./game, respectively.
• Blake leads The American in shutouts, with eight, and goals against average (.561).

• UCF is 0-4-1 all-time versus UConn
• Prior to this season’s meeting, UCF last faced UConn in 1996 when the Huskies defeated the Knights with a 2-1 victory. The Knights were 10-7-1 overall with a 4-2-0 league record and advanced to the semifinals of the Atlantic Sun Tournament.
• The Knights scored two first-half goals in their regular-season match at then 17th-ranked UConn on Oct. 5, to leave Storrs, Conn., with a 2-2 draw.
• UCF became the first team to score multiple goals against the Huskies in Storrs since Sept. 5, 2009.
• UConn’s Cyle Larin and UCF’s Romario Williams rank 2nd and 3rd, respectively, in The American with 22 points apiece and a 1.29 points per game average.
• They are also ranked 1st and 2nd, respectively, in total goals with 10 each.



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