UCF Earns #9 National Seed

NCAA Tournament Bracket

ORLANDO, Fla. ( – The No. 5 men's soccer team has earned the No. 9 national seed and a first round bye for the 2019 NCAA Division I Men's Soccer Tournament. This is the second consecutive season the Knights have been a national seed in the NCAA Tournament. The No. 9 seed is the highest national seed in UCF men's soccer history, topping the previous best of No. 14 last season.

The Knights will host the winner of Missouri State and Denver on Nov. 24 at 6 p.m. Denver won the Summit League while Missouri State comes into the tournament without a loss on the season with a record of 17-0-1. They fell in penalty kicks in their conference championship match. Tickets for UCF's second round matchup will go on sale tomorrow, Nov. 19, at 10 a.m.

The Knights are in the midst of their best season since they've been playing Division I soccer. They have posted 14 wins thus far which is the second highest win total in program history, second to the 15 victories achieved in 1976. Hosting the second round of the tournament should give the Black and Gold a big edge as the team has gone 21-3-5 at home during the Scott Calabrese era.

In American Athletic Conference play, UCF finished 6-0-1 and earned their second straight regular season crown. The Knights collected five major awards from the conference at the end of the season. Cal Jennings collected his second straight Offensive Player of the Year Award while Yannik Oettl also won Goalkeeper of the Year for the second season in a row. The back to back award nods continued as coach Calabrese and company won the Coaching Staff of the Year. Yoni Sorokin was named the conference's Midfielder of the Year while Gino Vivi was tabbed as the Rookie of the Year.

All-Conference selections included Jennings, Oettl, Sorokin and Yanis Leerman to the first team while Louis Perez was pegged on the second team. Vivi and Glademir Mendoza were named a part of the All-Rookie team.

The Knights have run a high powered offense all season long as they currently sit at eighth in the nation in goals per game with a mark of 2.33. They have identical marks in assists per game and sit seventh in the country in points per game with an average of seven. The Black and Gold rank first in corner kicks with an 8.28 clip and have taken the eighth most shots in the country, averaging 16.22 per match.

Jennings continued to receive national attention as he scored 16 goals through 18 games and tallied four assists along the way. Even when not ending up on the scoring sheet, Jennings was a catalyst in creating offense, creating space for others to make plays. He recorded his fourth career hat trick against Temple in The American semifinals and has collected 44 career goals and currently sits fourth on UCF's career goals scored list.

The Knights enter the NCAA Tournament after reaching the finals of The American conference tournament for the third straight season. After hoisting the regular season championship, UCF hosted the tournament and toppled Temple 5-0 in the semifinals before falling to SMU 1-0 in the final. Jennings, Oettl, Vivi and Perez were named to the All-Tournament team.

This is the fourth at-large bid in UCF's history and second in a row. It is the second consecutive NCAA berth for the Knights and the third time they have been to the postseason in back to back seasons. The last time the Black and Gold reached the NCAA Tournament in back to back seasons was in 2010 and 2011.

Two other American Athletic Conference teams earned bids to the NCAA Tournament. SMU received the No. 8 national seed while South Florida earned an at-large selection.

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