UCF Wins Back-To-Back Regular Season Titles

Box Score (PDF)

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) – The No. 6 UCF men's soccer team clinched their second consecutive regular season American Athletic Conference title on Friday night, defeating the Memphis Tigers in a high stakes match by a score of 1-0.

"It's an incredible achievement," said UCF head coach Scott Calabrese, "I'm so proud of this group. I think one of the hardest things to do is to follow up success with success; you really have to stay hungry. It just shows their absolute commitment to each other which I think is something that our program has grown in an incredible way. They are 100 percent a family."

Going into the match, UCF knew that a win would clinch at least a share of the regular season conference crown with one match remaining. The win also gives the Knights the number one seed in the conference tournament which will be played on Nov. 13. Memphis came into the match trailing the Black and Gold by just one point; a win for the Tigers would have given them sole possession of first place. While not ranked in the United Soccer Coaches Poll, Memphis has received national attention, receiving votes over the last four weeks.

The first half saw players flying around the pitch. In the 16th minute, Cal Jennings was fouled just outside the box, setting up a free kick from roughly 20 yards out. Louis Perez lined up and fired a slicing shot on goal. Memphis' keeper made the save but gave up a hefty rebound. Yanis Leerman tried to sneak the ball just inside the post but was denied.

The two teams went go to halftime scoreless with the Knights leading in shots by a count of 6-3.

Both sides made adjustments at the half, turning the match from a high-speed game to more of a chess match, seeing who would blink first. For a while, nobody did.
It wasn't until the 85th minute that the Knights were able to find a goal. Jennings fed the ball to the wing to an awaiting Gino Vivi, who looked over his options and fed it backwards to Perez who was roughly 30 yards out. Perez found a lane to Gianluca Arcangeli who did the rest from there. After a couple of dekes with the ball, Arcangeli found the lane and snuck one between the post and the goalkeeper.

The goal was Arcangeli's first in exactly two months' time. His last goal was back on Sept. 1 against then No. 6 North Carolina where he found an equalizer out of the half. The redshirt freshman bumps his season goal total to three.

UCF's victory extends their unbeaten streak to 14 matches, building on their best run in program history. The Knights now have 11 seasons where they have accomplished 12 wins or better over their 45 years as a program. With the win, UCF is now 20-2-5 at home under Coach Calabrese. The team has truly turned their home turf into a kingdom.

The Black and Gold tied a season low in shots with eight. They still managed to outshoot Memphis 8-3 at the night's end, not surrendering a shot to the Tigers in the second half. UCF Goalkeeper Yannik Oettl saw lots of action all evening but wound up with just one official save.

The contest brought two of the nation's highest scoring offenses to Orlando. Memphis came in ranked 12th in the nation in goals per game while the Knights sat in 10th. Many were surprised to see just one goal scored.

The Knights now have five conference championships to their name, with two of them in The American. They were champions of the A-Sun for three consecutive years, winning in 2002, 2003 and 2004. UCF added their first regular season championship in The American last season in their final match.

UCF will wrap up their regular season schedule on the road at Cincinnati on Tuesday at 7 p.m. A win for the Knights would give them the sole possession of the regular season conference crown and mark the first time they have gone unbeaten in American Athletic Conference play.

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