Men's Soccer Takes on Jacksonville in Final Exhibition on Friday

Aug. 23, 2007

ORLANDO, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - After a week's worth of practices to fine tune its game plan, the UCF men's soccer team plays host to Jacksonville in its final preseason test on Friday night. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at the UCF Soccer Complex.

The Knights faced St. Leo in their first exhibition contest on Aug. 18, dropping a 2-0 decision despite strong play in the first 60 minutes of the match.

"Even though we lost, playing the game against St. Leo allowed us to learn a lot of lessons about where we were as a team," said senior forward James Georgeff (New Castle, Australia) after Wednesday afternoon's practice session. "It gave the freshmen a chance to see what it was like to play a collegiate level game. Although it was a regular season game or a conference game, the high intensity gave all of us a wake-up call."

Armed with the information from the match against St. Leo, first-year head coach Bryan Cunningham and his assistants Paul Nagy and Steve Mellor worked with the squad this week in correcting mistakes and improving as a team.

"After the game against St. Leo, we learned what aspects we really needed to work on - like our movement off the ball, how our forwards need to move and how our midfielders need to work with our forwards," said junior midfielder Ryan Roushandel (Atlanta, Ga./Marist School). "The coaches have kept the defense and offense apart to work on certain areas before bringing us together at the end of practice to apply the skills in game situations."

With the regular season opener a week away, the Knights are also focused on improving the mental aspect of their game.

"Coach [Cunningham] has told us to go into the game with the attitude that we will win and to not be tentative," said Roushandel, UCF's top returning scorer. "We have to be confident that we can beat any opponent. If we play to the best of our abilities, we should have no problem getting a win at home or on the road. I think we have the talent to do that."

The Knights will need that confidence as the open the regular season with three games on the road, beginning with USF in Tampa on Friday, Aug. 31 at 7:30 p.m. They also travel to the TLC Plumbing and Utility Invitational in Albuquerque, N.M. the following weekend before returning home to host in-state rival Stetson on Wednesday, Sept. 12 at 7 p.m.

"After the St. Leo game, we learned some of our weakness and we took this week to work through them," said Georgeff. "We need to be able take a step forward and not make the same mistakes against Jacksonville in order to improve. If we can do that, we'll be where we need to be to kick off the regular season."

Admission to UCF men's soccer for the 2007 season is free to all. Parking is $5 and located in Garage F behind the UCF Arena Complex.

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