Men's Soccer Faces Tough Test at New Mexico Invitational

Sept. 6, 2007

UCF Men's Soccer Notes in PDF Format
Download Free Acrobat Reader

ORLANDO, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - Searching for its first victory of the young season, the UCF men's soccer team heads west to Albuquerque, New Mexico for the Nike/TLC Plumbing and Utility Invitational this weekend. The Knights (0-1-0) open the tournament against Cincinnati (0-1-0) on Friday, Sept. 7 at 4:30 p.m. before facing Loyola Marymount (0-1-0) on Sunday, Sept. 9, at 12:30 p.m.

In its season opener against USF on Aug. 31, UCF took a 1-0 lead five minutes into the match thanks to a goal from junior forward Mike Mattson (Boca Raton, Fla./Pope John Paul II HS). Down 3-1 in the second half, the Knights also received an offensive spark from senior forward James Georgeff (New Castle, Australia) but fell to the host Bulls, 5-2. Freshman goalkeeper Sean Johnson (Lilburn, Ga./Brookwood HS) made five saves in his collegiate debut, including one on a penalty kick in the first half.

With their first match of regular season behind them, the Knights used this week's practices to hone the skills necessary to take on two strong opponents.

"Against teams like Cincinnati and LMU, it is imperative for our team to attack and defend as a group," said first-year head coach Bryan Cunningham. "We need to stay connected and communicate. That has been the focus of our practices this week."

Cincinnati will also being looking to earn its first win of the season as the Bearcats dropped their season opener to Loyola University Chicago, 4-2, on Aug. 31. Senior forward Kenny Anaba, the team's top returning scorer, netted both of the Bearcats goals, while senior goalkeeper John-Michael Boggs made three saves.

Under the direction of seventh-year head coach Hylton Dayes, Cincinnati finished the 2006 season with an overall mark of 11-6-2 and a 7-3-1 record in BIG EAST play.

"We're looking forward to the challenge," said Cunningham of the 2006 BIG EAST Red Division Champion. "We were fortunate to play Cincinnati during the spring season two years ago so we are familiar with their speed, athleticism and organization. We're eager to put that knowledge to work and secure our first win."

Meanwhile, the Lions, with 10th-year head coach Paul Krumpe at the helm, fell to visiting Cal Poly, 2-0, in their season opener on Sept. 1. Redshirt freshman Patrick Lane made three saves in goal as the teams were equal shots with nine each.

In 2006, LMU went 9-8-2 overall and 5-5-2 in the West Coast Conference. The top returning scorer from that squad is junior midfielder/forward Brad Stisser, who collected four goals in 17 matches.

"It is always good to compete against a team from the west coast," said Cunningham. "LMU is very talented and technical, which makes it one of the more dangerous teams to play. In order to counter that type of attacking style, we will have to remain patient and disciplined for the full 90 minutes."

This weekend marks the first time that UCF has met both Cincinnati and Loyola Marymount on the pitch.

Fans will have their first chance to see the Knights when they return to Orlando for their home opener against Stetson on Wednesday, Sept. 12 at 7 p.m. Admission to the match is free.

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.