DALLAS – The UCF men's soccer team earned a huge win over No. 9 SMU on the road Saturday night, blanking the Mustangs 2-0.
"The players were excellent tonight," said head coach Scott Calabrese. "It was great to see Hatta score tonight and see another great game from Gino as well. I'm especially excited to see us keep a clean sheet, Yannik and the back line were terrific."
The Knights came to play from the opening whistle. It was UCF who struck first in the match earning a quick goal in the 11th minute. Anderson Rosa drew a double team and fed it to a wide-open Gino Vivi on the wing. From right beside the sideline, Vivi launched a ball into the far side of box where Hattabiou Barry was waiting and punched it home on a short hop scoring his first goal of the 2020-21 season.
After the first 15 minutes, the Knights were up 1-0 on the scoreboard and had surrendered just one shot on goal which was immediately after they scored theirs. With Saturday's win, UCF moves to 3-0-0 when holding their opponent scoreless in the first 15 minutes of the match.
SMU found their stride midway through the first frame as they went on to gather a 6-3 edge in shot attempts at the break.
It was the Knights who came surging out of the locker room to begin the second half after SMU had the momentum heading into the break. UCF fired three shot attempts the way of the Mustang goalkeeper in the first 15 minutes of the second stanza but couldn't add to the lead.
The Black and Gold kept the pressure up and broke SMU's defense at the 63-minute mark. Mauricio Villalobos Vega gathered in a pass from the outer part of the midfield circle and sprinted straight towards goal. At the last moment, he dumped it off to Lucca Dourado who had a chance to put it away but was fouled by the Mustang goalkeeper, awarding UCF their second penalty kick in as many matches.
Sorokin lined up from the spot and curled one just inside the post, doubling the Knight advantage. The senior is now five-for-six in his career from the penalty kick spot. Sorokin earned his first goal of the season on a penalty kick in last week's win over Memphis.
SMU rushed back down the pitch and nearly scored minutes after UCF went up 2-0. Yannik Oettl went out to greet a charging Mustang who rifled a low shot and got a big chunk of the ball. The ball squeezed through Oettl's leg and popped up in the air behind him. A charging Andres Hernandez Betancur was there to save the day, flying in to deny the chance.
65' | That was UNREAL Andres! ??— UCF Men's Soccer (@UCF_MSoccer) March 14, 2021
The shutout stays alive in Dallas!
??: 0 pic.twitter.com/hXlfrbJbyV
The pace of the match was wide open from that point on, but an additional goal wasn't found. UCF finished the second half with a dozen shot attempts, doubling what SMU had in the period. It was the second clean sheet of the season for the Knights and the second consecutive match that the Mustangs have been shutout in 2020-21.
Oettl, who returned from a two-match absence went on to tie his single-game saves record, tallying eight saves on the evening. The clean sheet is the 14th of Oettl's career, moving him up to a tie of fifth place on UCF's career shutouts list. He ties Shawn Doyle who earned 14 shutouts from 2009-12. The next clean sheet of Oettl's career will move him into a tie of fourth place with Dan Cordia who earned 15 from 1984-87.
The Knights and Mustangs met three times last season, with UCF unable to find a win in all three meetings. Saturday's victory snaps a four-match winless streak against SMU and is the first time the Black and Gold have triumphed over the Mustangs since 2018. Four of the last seven meetings between the two sides have been in postseason play, creating one of college soccer's newest and fiercest rivalries.
UCF returns home to host Temple, a team they beat 1-0 on the road exactly four weeks ago. That match will take place on Saturday at 6 p.m.
FOLLOW THE KNIGHTS
Follow UCF Men's Soccer on social media on Facebook (/UCFMensSoccer), Twitter (@UCF_MSoccer) and Instagram (@UCF.MSoccer).
GET THE APP
Never miss any UCF Knights news from your favorite team by downloading the free UCF Knights app right to your iOS or Android phone. The app provides personalized information for men's and women's teams, scores, schedules, loyalty programs and even breaking news. Click here to download the app now.