Tournament Time

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ORLANDO, Fla. ( – UCF used a seven-match unbeaten streak to end the regular season and earned the No. 2 seed at The American Championship that starts on Friday. The Knights face No. 3 UConn in a semifinal match at 5:30 p.m. ET in Dallas, Texas.
The second semifinal features No. 1 SMU and No. 4 Temple at 8:00 p.m. ET. The winners of the two matches move on to Sunday's championships match at 2 p.m. on ESPNU.
Fans can watch both semifinal contest from Westcott Field on the American Digital Network.

  • The Knights (7-5-2) are on a seven-match unbeaten streak and went from fifth to second in the league standings with sophomore Cal Jennings' golden goal in the 94th minute at Cincinnati.
  • The runner-up finish is UCF's highest since joining The American in 2013. The Knights last finished second in the regular season standings following the 2010 campaign in Conference USA.
  • Matias Pyysalo ranks among the nation's leaders in points (5th/2.07), goals (4th/0.86) and assists (84th/0.36) per game.
  • The Knights are looking to reach their first league tournament final since winning three-straight Atlantic Sun Tournament Championships from 2002-04. UCF is 3-1 all-time in the Division I era in conference championship matches.
  • UCF is seeking its sixth trip to the NCAA Tournament. The Knights earned at-large berths into the NCAA Tournament in 2010 and 2011.
  • Out of the 205 men's soccer programs, UCF was the 204th team to appear in a home match. The Knights began their in-season turnaround by winning the home opener, 4-0, vs. Stetson on Oct. 4 after starting 1-5-1 with seven matches on the road.


  • The Knights have captured the last two meetings against UConn after a 3-2 victory on Oct. 21. Cal Jennings posted his second brace of the season and Matias Pyysalo scored the second goal for UCF.
  • The Knights recorded their first win over UConn, 2-1, last year with a golden goal in 2OT by Pyysalo.
  • The Huskies lead the all-time series with a 7-2-1 record. A 2-2 (2OT) road draw was registered by UCF in the first league game back in 2013.


  • Senior Matias Pyysalo backed up his 2016 postseason and 2017 preseason American Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year by becoming the second back-to-back major award winner in conference history.
  • Pyysalo ranks among the nation's leaders in points (5th/2.07), goals (4th/0.86) and assists (84th/0.36) per game.
  • He led the conference with seven goals in league play and finished the campaign with 12 markers.
  • The Helsinki, Finland, native tallied a natural hat trick, scoring the final three goals at Jacksonville. It was the first hat trick of his career and the first by a Knight since Deshorn Brown (currently with DC United) accomplished the feat vs. Memphis (10/24/12).
  • In the first seven matches, Pyysalo scored five of the seven goals by the Knights.
  • Over the past two seasons, he has tallied 13 of his 22 goals in conference play, which included game-winners against SMU (10/1/16), UConn (10/22/16), Cincinnati (11/5/16), Tulsa (10/15/17) and Temple (10/28/17).
  • He has totaled 30 goals and 19 assists in his career as a Knight. The 30 goals put him in fifth on the all-time list in front of Mark Lamb (1984-87) with 29 goals. Next on the chart is Rony Francois (1980-83) with 39 goals.
  • The 79 total points by Pyysalo is fifth on the career charts, passing with Nik Robson (2009-2011) with 77 points. The next player on the list is Rony Francois (1980-83) with 101 points.


  • The Knights saw six players receive recognition on the two all-conference teams with sophomore Cal Jennings and freshman Yoni Sorokin joining Pyysalo on the first team.
  • The second team featured junior Andreas Steineneger and a pair of freshmen in Hattabiou Barry and Louis Perez.
  • UCF also had a trio earn the all-rookie accolades in Barry, Perez and Sorokin.
  • The Knights were also the most disciplined team in league matches, earning The American Team Fair Play Award. UCF received 108 points, which were allocated for fouls (1), yellow cards (5) and red cards (10).
  • Jennings posted a career-best seven goals, including four game-winners against Stetson, UConn, Florida Atlantic and Cincinnati. He finished second on the team with 18 points.
  • Sorokin provided a calming presence in the midfield and tallied two goals and three assists.
  • Steineger received defensive player of the week honors on Oct. 30 and led the backline to six clean sheets. He also recorded the game-tying goal vs. Memphis.
  • Perez was a key component to a talented UCF midfield and tallied 14 shots.
  • Barry, a skilled on the ball athlete, tallied three assists during the campaign as a forward.


  • The first five matches were tough with all four of their goals being scored in a 4-0 win at Jacksonville. The draw against No. 14 West Virginia was the first result earned by UCF vs. a Top 25 since a 2-2 2OT draw at No. 24 UConn (10/5/13).
  • The start of conference play sparked the Knights in a pair of hard-fought road defeats to USF (3-2 2OT) and SMU (2-1)
  • UCF held leads in both matches, but was unable to finish off its opponents.
  • Back home, UCF posted a 4-0 victory over Stetson to boost its confidence, then played a 1-1 2OT draw vs. Memphis.
  • An all-around effort aided UCF to a 3-0 victory against physical Tulsa squad.
  • Cal Jennings quieted a capacity crowd at No. 22 UConn with a goal in the third minute, then tallied the game-winner to propel UCF to a 3-2 win.
  • In a pivotal matchup in the conference standings against Temple, Pyysalo left his mark on Senior Knight with a goal off a counter attack in the 50th minute to lift UCF, 1-0.
  • The Knights have scored 20 goals in the nine-game stretch and found scoring from Matias Pyysalo (9), Cal Jennings (7), Ricardo Oliveros (1), Yoni Sorokin, Gorka Aperribay (1) and Andreas Steineger (1).


  • Senior Matias Pyysalo has earned two player of the week nods from The American. He tallied a game-winning goal in a 1-0 victory vs. Temple (10/28) and tallied a brace in a 3-0 win over Tulsa (10/15).
  • Junior Cal Jennings registered a brace of his own and added an assist in a 3-2 win at UConn to be named The American Offensive Player of the Week (10/23).
  • A pair of Knights have also received The American Defensive Player of the Week in Jonathan Dean (9/11) and Andreas Steineger (10/30).
  • Dean helped UCF posted back-to-back shutouts at Jacksonville and at No. 14 West Virginia, while Steineger led the defense to a clean sheet against Temple.


  • Head coach Scott Calabrese is in his first season guiding the Knights.
  • He spent the past three seasons at FIU, taking the program to its first NCAA Tournament in 10 years. This year, the Panthers are currently undefeated at  11-0-4, ranked No. 8 in the nation and captured the C-USA regular season title.
  • The Newton, Conn., native has compiled an 85-67-20 overall mark and started the program at East Tennessee State in 2008.
  • Calabrese has an experienced staff in Will Clayton, who played and coached at Wake Forest, and Paul Souders, who played for Calabrese at Clemson and coached at New Mexico.

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