Golden Knights Control Postseason Destiny

Nov. 3, 2005

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ORLANDO - The UCF men's soccer team (6-7-1) has control of its own destiny as it hosts East Carolina (0-13-1) and South Carolina (8-6-1) at the UCF Soccer Complex this weekend. The Golden Knights face ECU on Friday at 7 p.m. before squaring off against Carolina on Sunday at 1 p.m.

Sitting at ninth in the Conference USA standings with a 1-5-1 record and four points, the Golden Knights need to win both matches in order to secure the final spot in the upcoming C-USA Tournament in Dallas, Texas. Tulsa, who finished its regular season with a 4-2 win over the Pirates on Oct. 30 and has accumulated nine points on a 2-4-3 C-USA record.

Sunday is Senior Recognition Day, when UCF celebrates the careers of forwards Jon Imran and Billy Judino, defender Derron Cornwall and goalkeeper Ryan McIntosh.

Tickets for both of this weekend's matches 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 EAST CAROLINA Under the guidance of interim head coach Chad Halverson, the Pirates come to Orlando with a 0-7-0 mark in conference play. They enter the weekend on a seven-game losing streak that includes a recent 4-2 loss to Tulsa.

ECU has made more saves than any other team in the league with 104, but also owns the highest goals-against-average at 3.90. Junior Chris Hicks has played 10 of the 15 matches in goal and has posted a 3.61 GAA, while freshman goalkeeper Zachery Roszel has a 4.55 GAA in five contests.

Junior forward Calvin Simon leads the team with 14 points on six goals and two assists, while senior forward Matt Kowaleski has 12 points with six goals.

Halverson was an assistant track and field coach at UCF during the 2002-03 academic year.

SERIES RECORD UCF owns a 3-1 lead in the all-time series against the Pirates, but ECU won the last meeting 3-1 in Greenville, N.C. in 2000.

SCOUTING SOUTH CAROLINA USC is the No. 2 team in C-USA with a 5-1-1 record in conference play for 16 points. Gamecock junior forward Michael Sambursky is tied for first in the league and 19th in the NCAA rankings with eight assists, while senior forward Josh Alcala is tied for fifth in overall points with 17 (5 goals, 7 assists). Junior forward Ayo Akinsete tops the team in goals with six to his credit.

Defensively, freshman goalkeeper Mike Gustavson owns the third lowest goals-against-average in the conference at 1.35 and the sixth best save percentage (.738). He has also recorded two shutouts.

SERIES RECORD The Golden Knights have previously met the Gamecocks on four occasions with South Carolina holding a 2-1-1 advantage. The two teams most recently squared off in 1985 and played to a scoreless tie.

UCF IN CONFERENCE USA After allowing four goals over two games last week, Ryan McIntosh dropped to fifth among C-USA goalkeepers with a 1.41 goals-against-average, but still tops the saves (84) and saves per game (6.00) categories. He is also second in save percentage at .808.

ON THE NATIONAL SCENE As of the NCAA's latest statistical release on Nov. 1, Ryan McIntosh was still listed in 11th with 6.00 saves per game.

SCHOLAR ATHLETE Senior forward Jon Imran was named to the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-District III Second Team on Nov. 3. The molecular and microbiology major transferred to UCF from Stetson prior to the 2003 season. Since then, he has played in 111 matches with 18 goals and two assists for 38 points. Of his 18 goals, six have been game-winners, including two against the Hatters.

To be eligible for CoSIDA Academic All-District honors, nominees must carry a cumulative grade-point-average of 3.20 on a 4.00 scale and be at least a sophomore with one full academic year at the institution.

SEASON INTERRUPTED Due to the projected path of Hurricane Wilma, UCF was forced to postpone its matches against East Carolina (Oct. 21) and South Carolina (Oct. 23). The games were rescheduled for Nov. 4 and 6, respectively, and C-USA administrators voted to have the 2005 conference tournament held on the campus of the highest seed from Nov. 9-13 with Nov. 12th as a practice day.

COMEBACK KIDS UCF's rally from three goals down against Marshall was chosen by College Soccer News as the Comeback of the Week on Oct. 2. The Golden Knights were down 4-1 when they scored three goals in the final 10 minutes to tie the match. Jermaine Walters jumpstarted the squad with a goal in the 80th minute followed by two more by Jon Imran.

"Our team showed a lot of character coming back from being down 4-1," said first-year UCF head coach Brent Erwin after the double overtime contest. "It isn't an easy feat to accomplish in this game."

FRESHMEN FRENZY Rookies continue to make an impact on the Golden Knights as the team enters the final stretch of the season. Five freshmen have logged time on the field in a majority of the matches and some have made contributions on the scoreboard. Defender Jake Howard earned a starting role in the backfield straight out of the preseason and has played in all 14 games with a goal and an assist to his credit.

Forward Mike Mattson tallied his first collegiate goal in the win over Central Connecticut State and is tied for the team lead in goals scored with three, including the game-winner against Kentucky. Another forward Tyler Davis posted an assist on Islam Rashwan's tally over CCSU.

Jermaine Walters recorded his first goal - the game-deciding tally - at North Florida before adding a second to start UCF's comeback against Marshall. Bryan Haisley has earned two starts in recent matches.

"I am very happy with the effort that the freshmen have given us this season," said Brent Erwin. "They have accepted the challenges put before them and continue to work very hard to make meaningful contributions to the team."

HOT SHOTS The Golden Knights have outshot their foes in eight of 14 matches thus far this season and hold a 195-187 overall advantage. They recorded a season-high 21 shots against Marshall. Jon Imran has posted the top two individual efforts with eight shots against Marshall and six against Florida Atlantic, while Billy Judino has recorded a team-high 38 shots this season.

UCF is even more impressive in the second half when the Golden Knights have a 116-96 advantage in shots. They have also outscored their opponents by a 13-10 margin in the final 45 minutes.

BACKED INTO A CORNER In addition to outshooting its opponents, UCF also holds an overall 76-66 advantage in corner kicks. The team had a season-high 11 against Kentucky on Oct. 2.

OH CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN Senior captain Billy Judino continues to lead the Golden Knights in more ways than one as he tops the stat sheet with 10 points (3 goals, 4 assists) and has a team-high 38 total shots.

Judino earned his first accolade of the season when he was chosen as the SoccerFla.com Player of the Week on Sept. 27 after recording five points in two matches against in-state rivals. He recorded the game-winning goal and added an assist in the 2-1 victory over Florida Atlantic then scored his second tally of the season in a 3-1 win at North Florida.

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 70 matches, he has collected seven goals and 18 assists for 32 points. With the helper on Mike Mattson's goal against FAU, Judino moved into sole possession of eighth place on UCF's list for most assists in a career.

BIG MAC Joining Billy Judino as the only two players on the roster that have played all four seasons at UCF, Ryan McIntosh has also made his mark in the program and has left his name in the record books. The Cooper City native made two saves in the win over Stetson on Sept. 13 to move ahead of Didier Mendard on UCF's career saves list. With a current total of 371 during his career, McIntosh sits in second. Three-time All-American Rick Brantincevic is first with 444 saves.

McIntosh's shutout of the Hatters was his 20th career shutout and moved one closer to tying Brantincevic (21) in second place.

McIntosh has started 76 consecutive matches in goal since his freshman year. He also became the first UCF athlete to be honored by Conference USA when he was tapped as the C-USA Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 7.

HOMEFIELD ADVANTAGE The Golden Knights went 4-2 as they opened the season with a six-game homestand. September's schedule featured seven matches at the UCF Soccer Complex, including the team's C-USA debut against Marshall on the 30th. They are currently an impressive 5-2-1 at home.