#6 UCF Extends Unbeaten Streak to 15

Box Score (PDF)

CINCINNATI, Ohio (UCFKnights.com) – The No. 6 UCF men's soccer defeated the Cincinnati Bearcats in overtime on the road by a score of 3-2 on Tuesday night. The win finishes UCF's regular season with a record of 13-1-2 and 15 consecutive unbeaten matches. The Knights finish their conference slate without a loss, boasting a mark of 6-0-1, making them the outright regular season conference champions for the first time as a member of the American Athletic Conference.

"To go unbeaten in a conference as strong as The American is a great accomplishment," said UCF head coach Scott Calabrese, "I couldn't be more proud of this group. But with that we are now looking forward to the postseason and preparing for that part of our campaign."

The first half was back and forth but didn't see many shots posted. No goals were scored by the time the first frame was up. UCF had the advantage in shots 6-2 and an edge in corners by a count of 5-0.

UCF broke the doughnut in the score column as Gianluca Arcangeli scored the match's opening goal in 50th minute. He found some space, made a couple of moves, and rifled one top shelf for his fourth goal of the season. Arcangeli scored the first two goals of the season for UCF and then went exactly two months without scoring. He got the lone goal in the Memphis match on Friday before scoring the opener Tuesday night.

Cincinnati struck back almost immediately, netting their first goal in the 51st minute. Yannik Oettl made the initial save, but the rebound was collected by Creggton Charlton and found the back of the net to tie the match at 1-1.

The Knights didn't have to wait long to bury their next opportunity. Captain Jonathan Dean received a feed down the right wing from Gino Vivi and spun the ball in front. Cal Jennings was crashing hard towards the Cincinnati goalkeeper and was able to nudge the ball home for his 13th goal of the season. At the time, the goal was credited to Dean. The goal was credited to Jennings after the match had concluded.

Yanis Leerman was given a red card in the 67th minute. He was the last man back and committed a foul, earning him an automatic ejection. The foul occurred just outside the box, setting up a free kick from roughly nineteen yards out. The Cincinnati shot went straight into a wall of UCF defenders, defusing the situation.

The Bearcats found a late equalizer in the 83rd minute as Darryn Commissiong shot one by Oettl on the right side, tying the match at 2-2. No answers were found in the final seven minutes, sending the Knights to their 8th overtime of the season.

Play was fairly even in overtime, with neither team finding a chance early on. Gino Vivi found a chance in the 94th minute but missed the shot wide right by a few feet.
The Knights worked the ball upfield quickly at the start of the 99th minute. The ball was worked to Vivi who dished to Jennings on the wing. Jennings made a great pass to Vivi back in the box who went on to spin out a defender, juke the goalkeeper and score the game winner. Vivi was the only player on either side to take a shot in overtime. The goal is Vivi's third golden goal of the season as the freshman has been cool under pressure this entire season.

"When I gave the ball to Cal, I knew he was going to give it back," said Vivi, "He gave me an incredible pass and when I received the ball, I took a deep breath and knew that if I converted on the chance, we would be champions."

With the victory, UCF is just the third team in The American's seven-season existence to go unbeaten in regular season conference play. The Knights were guaranteed at least a share of the regular season conference title with their win over Memphis but earned the outright crown with their win over Cincinnati.

The Black and Gold outshot the Bearcats 13-10 over the duration of the match, with Cincinnati picking up eight of theirs in the second half. UCF had the edge in corner kicks by a mark of 9-1, elevating their nation-leading mark of 7.80 entering the match.

The Knights now move to 8-0-0 all-time against Cincinnati, with each match determined by a single goal. This meeting was the first time the two sides had gone to overtime.

The win extended UCF's unbeaten streak to 15 consecutive matches. Their only loss came in the first match of the season, a 2-1 decision to then No. 4 Wake Forest. The Knights haven't lost since then and have put together two different six match winning streaks. Half of UCF's matches went to overtime this season, with the Black and Gold posting a mark of 6-0-2 when needing at least one extra segment.

UCF receives a bye in the first round of The American championship tournament as they are the No. 1 seed and will face the winner of the No. 4 Memphis vs. No. 5 Temple match. The Knights host the winner of the No. 4/5 match on Wednesday, Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. The winner will advance to the final of the conference tournament.

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