Senior Sendoff Victory

ORLANDO, Fla. ( - On senior day for Diego Bacellar, Javier Clavijo and Phil Hicks, UCF did its job to put itself in position to advance to the postseason by posting a 1-0 victory against Cincinnati at the UCF Soccer Complex. Junior Matias Pyysalo put the Knights (5-10-0, 3-4-0) on top early, dribbling around a defender and hitting the far post in the eighth minute Saturday.

The win along with a victory by USF later in the evening, clinched fourth place in the league standings. The Knights begin The American Championship on Friday at 7 p.m. by taking on the top-seeded Bulls in Tampa, Fla.

"I told the group before the game 'Let's control what we can control, which is winning this game,'" head coach Bryan Cunningham said. "I thought that we got off to a really fast start, which sometimes we don't. We were able to get a goal and had chances to put in a second.

"As much as the game was a bit jumbled and seemed more dangerous, thanit was, all credit goes to the hard work from our back four. Cincinnati has some very good attacking players and we were able to stifle them a little bit."

The Knights limited Cincinnati (9-7-1, 3-4-0) to one shot in each frame, of which both were on frame. A game-high seven shots were tallied by the Knights with two coming from junior Walker Dawkins.

The Finnish Finisher

  • Junior Matias Pyysalo delivered his seventh-career game-winning goal and third this season.
  • The Helsinki, Finland, native tallied his 10th marker and now has totaled 25 points.
  • The goal was setup on a pass by freshman Cal Jennings. It was the fourth time the two teammates have hooked up on a marker this season.

"That's the best. When we score early, it just kind of calms everyone down a little bit. We just know that we have to close out the game."
-Junior Javier Clavijo

Sending Off Our Seniors

  • Seniors Javier Clavijo, Phil Hicks and Diego Bacellar played in their final home match on Saturday.
  • Clavijo made his 37th career start and 56th appearance in a Knights' uniform.
  • Bacellar, a transfer from Creighton, played in his 12th contest at UCF.
  • It was the last home game for Hicks, who was sidelined with an injury.
  • Watch the full senior day ceremony by clicking here.

"This win on senior day means the world. We have really been working hard this whole year and sometime the results did not go our way, but I knew that if we put in the work today, then we were going to get the result."
-Junior Javier Clavijo

Earning a Tournament Berth

  • The four-seeded Knights are set to take on the top-seeded Bulls on Friday at 7 p.m. in The American Championship in Tampa.
  • This is the eighth tournament appearance for UCF under the guidance of head coach Bryan Cunningham. It is also the fifth time that coach Cunningham has led the Knights to the semifinals of a conference tournament.
  • The Knights hosted the Bulls back on Sept. 24 and fell 2-1, but finished the match with a 15-7 advantage in shots. USF scored both goals on perfectly-placed shots from distance.

"We did our part and now have to wait and see if fate is on our side. I don't think that there is a team that really wants to play us, because they know we are a dangerous team when we healthy. If we can have another week of practice, get healthy and a few guys back, then I think we can be very dangerous going into the tournament."
-Head coach Bryan Cunningham

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