Nov. 19, 2011
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By Doug Richards
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - After picking up a thrilling win Thursday, the UCF men's soccer team will head to Tampa for an NCAA Championship second round match at No. 7 seed USF Sunday. The contest at Corbett Soccer Stadium will begin at 6 p.m.
The Knights (12-5-3) are looking to advance to the third round of the championship for the first time in program history.
UCF moved on to the second round after senior Kevan George (Roxborough, Trinidad) scored with three minutes remaining in the second overtime period Thursday to lift the host Knights to a 1-0 win over Florida Gulf Coast. Freshman Matthew Gaskins (St. Petersburg, Fla.) and junior Malcolm Reed (Summerville, S.C.) assisted on the score. Against Florida Gulf Coast, UCF received strong play from redshirt freshman Sebastian Evers (Miami, Fla.) The goalkeeper registered seven saves.
If the Knights defeat the Bulls, they would face the winner of Sunday's Duke at New Mexico matchup. The Lobos are the No. 10 seed in the tournament.
USF is 12-3-3 overall and went 7-0-2 in BIG EAST play during the year. The Bulls are 7-2-1 at home in 2011. The team defeated five nationally-ranked squads during the season, including three in league play. USF is led by BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Year Dom Dwyer. He has 16 goals and 34 points on the year.
"What a great team," UCF head coach Bryan Cunningham said of the Bulls. "I had a chance to watch them a couple of weeks ago. They possess the ball very well. They have one of the leading goal scorers in the country. They'll be ready for us come Sunday. We are going to need our A game to beat them at their place, which not a lot of teams do."
UCF is making its second-straight NCAA Championship appearance. A year ago, the Knights opened the tournament with a 3-0 victory over USF in Orlando. UCF then headed north to Ann Arbor, where it fell to Michigan, 2-1. USF's goalkeeper, Chris Blais, played at Michigan a year ago and picked up the win against the Knights.
The Knights did not face USF during the regular season this year.
Admission to Sunday's match at Corbett Soccer Stadium is free courtesy of the Tampa Bay Sports Commission.
Free video of the match, as well as live stats, will be available on GoUSFBulls.com.