UCF Falters at North Florida, 2-1 (ot)
JACKSONVILLE Fla. (UCFKnights.com) - UCF senior Hadji Barry opened the scoring in the 11th minute on Wednesday night, but North Florida netted the game-tying goal in the 87th minute. The Ospreys went on to take the contest, 2-1, in overtime at Hodges Stadium.
"Unfortunately, this group is learning some hard lessons," said head coach Bryan Cunningham. "We played great Sunday night and the score line did not reflect that in the loss to Mercer. Tonight, it wasn't our best effort, but we were up a goal. With a young team, we have to learn how to close that game out."
The Knights were clinging to a 1-0 advantage late in the contest and the Ospreys broke through with just over two minutes remaining. Cases Caronis headed in a long cross from the far left side.
In the overtime session, UCF started with possession and pressure of its own, but was unable to manage a shot. UNF weathered the storm and the third shot of the period struck by Milan Kovacs found the top left corner.
-After UNF controlled possession for the first 10 minutes, a turnover provided the Knights with an opportunity.
-When the ball came to sophomore midfielder Matias Pyysalo in the middle, he found a streaking Barry inside the 18.
-The striker's finish found the open net on the left side of the goal for his second of the year.
-The Knights registered four shots and both teams had one shot on target in the first half.
-Unlike the last match vs. Mercer, UNF held possession, but was unable to penetrate the Knights back line.
-UCF took advantage of mistakes and used its speed up top to create chances, which included three corner kicks.
"North Florida was doing a good job moving the ball in the first half," Cunningham said. "That was what we saw on tape. Our plan going into the match was to counter them."
NEED THE FINISHING TOUCH
-The Knights regrouped in the second half and started controlling the possession.
-The squad fired three shots in the first 15 minutes.
-The first opportunity came off the foot of senior midfielder Mason Miller, who slipped through the defense, but the keeper was out to make the stop. -Barry had an chance for his second of the contest in the 72nd minute but the keeper got a paw on the shot.
"That is what stings, it is reminiscent of the group last year, where we pressed higher up the field in the second half and created some great turnovers," Cunningham said. "We did what we wanted to in creating scoring chances, but we did not get that all-important second goal."
-UCF concludes a two-match road trip on Sept. 14 against Northwestern at Toyota Park, the home of the Chicago Fire. Former Knight Sean Johnson is the starting goalkeeper for the Fire
-The Citronauts are back for the Knights next home game on Sept. 18 with an 8 p.m. start against Grand Canyon. More details about promotions for the contest will be released at a later date.
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