Men's Soccer Plays Host to Stetson in Home Opener

Sept. 11, 2007

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ORLANDO, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - After playing its first three games on the road, the UCF men's soccer team (2-1-0) returns to Orlando, Fla. on a two-match winning streak as the Knights take on in-state rival Stetson (1-2-0) in their home opener on Wednesday night at the UCF Soccer Complex. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

The Knights look to take advantage of the momentum they earned along with the team title at the Nike/TLC Plumbing and Utility Invitational in Albuquerque, N.M. last weekend. UCF went 2-0 during the two-day tournament with wins over Cincinnati and Loyola Marymount. As a result, when the National Soccer Coaches Association of America released its regional polls on Tuesday, the Knights were ranked at No. 10 in the South.

While Cunningham called both victories "team efforts", several Knights have stepped up their games early in the season. Junior midfielder Ryan Roushandel (Atlanta, Ga./Marist School) scored both goals against Cincinnati. Both senior forward James Georgeff (New Castle, Australia) and junior midfielder Mike Mattson (Boca Raton, Fla./Pope John Paul II) have each added a goal and an assist to the offense.

The upperclassmen aren't the only ones contributing to the Knights' effort. Freshman forward Matt Luzunaris (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./West Boca Raton HS) registered a goal and an assist during the trip to New Mexico, while rookie goalkeeper Sean Johnson (Lilburn, Ga./Brookwood HS) continues to be a factor as the team's last line of defense. Starting all three matches, he has posted a 2.00 goals-against-average and a .714 save percentage. Both midfielder Dustin McCarty (Maitland, Fla./Winter Park HS) and defender Kyle Pascioni (Lake Mary HS) started the previous two games.

"The success that our freshmen and sophomores have enjoyed is in direct correlation to the guidance and leadership that our upperclassmen have provided," said first-year head coach Bryan Cunningham. "They have been able to keep our team focused and motivated."

The Knights will need that same focus and motivation when the Hatters visit the UCF Soccer Complex. Under the direction of interim head coach T. Logan Fleck, Stetson enters Wednesday's match with a 1-2-0 record after dropping a 2-1 overtime decision to Florida Atlantic on Sept. 6.

"Coming away from the tournament in New Mexico with two wins was a great accomplishment, but now it is time to get back to business," said Cunningham. "Stetson is a very good team with a lot of talent and experience. It is always a challenge to play an in-state team, especially considering the rivalry that exists between our two teams."

UCF and Stetson have met 36 times since beginning their rivalry during the 1975 season. The Knights have beaten the Hatters in the previous six contests, winning the last five by a one-goal margin, and hold a 27-8-1 advantage overall.

Admission to all UCF home matches is free. Parking is available for $5. Fans are encouraged to wear their craziest black and gold hats for the game.

For the latest news and information on the Knights, tickets or apparel log on to www.ucfathletics.com - the official site for UCF varsity sports. Also check out UCFPhotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pics.