UCF Men's Soccer Makes 2005 Debut at Kickoff Classic

Sept. 1, 2005

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ORLANDO - When the UCF men's soccer team makes its regular season debut against Lafayette on Friday at the UCF Soccer Complex, it will usher in a new era.

The Golden Knights, who made three consecutive appearances in the NCAA Tournament from 2002-04, are under the direction of a new coaching staff helmed by Brent Erwin. Not one to rest on past accomplishments, the head coach sees a clean slate.

"This is the year about establishing what UCF men's soccer is about - not only for now but for the years to come," said Erwin. "We are now on the path to building something that can become a champion."

The Golden Knights start building that foundation with the 2005 UCF Kickoff Classic. The tournament begins on Friday with Stetson vs. Central Connecticut at 5 p.m. followed by UCF vs. Lafayette, while Sunday's final day of competition sees UCF take on Central Connecticut at noon and Stetson vs. Lafayette at 2:15 p.m.

Tickets for the classic are available at the gate. Adults are $4. Youth (ages 5-17) and seniors (ages 55+) are $2. Children under age five and UCF students with valid ID are admitted free.

Scouting Lafayette The Leopards return their top two scorers from a team that went 12-6 and led the Patriot League in both goals (1.78) and points (5.0) per match in 2004. Midfielders Thomas Harju and Scott Hawkins accounted for 30 points a year ago, while senior co-captain Ryan McCaughey and sophomore Mark Price also bring their offensive talents.

Lafayette will look to continue their defensive excellence. Although they are young in the backfield, the Leopards have a capable final line of defense in senior co-captain and goalkeeper Mike Tortora. He started all but one of the 18 contests and posted a 1.05 goals-against-average last season.

Scouting Central Connecticut Led by 2005 Third-Team Preseason All-American Alex Harrison, the Blue Devils went 2-0 in the preseason with wins over American International (2-1) and Hartford (2-1). Harrison was the top scorer in the nation in 2004 with 1.03 goals per game, while he was second in points per contest (2.38).

Defensively, CCSU is also inexperienced in the back with four freshman. Sophomore Chris Chiakpo is the only goalkeeper with collegiate experience with no goals allowed in two partial matches.

Exhibiting Potential The Golden Knights earned a 2-1 win over rival USF in their final exhibition match of the preseason on Aug. 27. After Kris Raad put the Bulls on the board with a goal in the 10th minute, UCF senior forward Jon Imran responded with a tally at 28:50 from sophomore Adham Rashwan and freshman Mike Mattson.

Rashwan, who transferred to UCF from USF prior to 2004, netted the unassisted game-winner in the 78th minute from 12 yards out.

The Golden Knights pressured the Bulls' defense throughout the match, earning a 6-1 advantage in corner kicks. USF held a 17-11 margin in shots. Senior goalkeeper Ryan McIntosh made seven saves to earn the victory, while Dane Brenner stopped two shots.

Homefield Advantage The Golden Knights play seven of their eight matches at the UCF Soccer Complex during the month of September as they host two tournaments and in-state rivals Stetson and Florida Atlantic. The team caps the homestand with their Conference USA debut against Marshall on Sept. 30.

Conversely, UCF opens October at home against Kentucky before hitting the road for three tough C-USA contests at Florida International, SMU and Tulsa. The Knights return home for matches versus East Carolina and South Carolina then finish the season on the road at UAB and Memphis.

Oh Captain, My Captain Senior Billy Judino was tapped as UCF's captain after an impressive preseason training camp. "Billy has really committed himself to the team," said Coach Erwin. "He has fantastic talent and an even better character."

Judino's versatility has enabled him to play in various positions throughout his career at UCF. After starting the 2004 season up front, he moved to the backfield by the end of the year. In 57 matches, he has collected six goals and 14 assists for 26 points. His 14 assists place him in a three-way tie for 10th on UCF's list for most in a career.

Big Mac Joining Judino as the only two players on the roster that have played all four seasons at UCF, senior goalkeeper Ryan McIntosh has also made his mark in the program and has left his name in the record books. Prior to the weekend, the native of Cooper City is third in both career saves (287) and shutouts (18), while he is listed at fifth with a 1.22 goals-against-average.

McIntosh has started 62 matches in goal since his freshman year.

Freshman Frenzy With six true freshman on a 21-man roster, rookies could figure prominently in UCF's 2005 campaign. Some have stood out in the preseason, including midfielder/forward Jake Howard and forward Mike Mattson.