|SMU at UCF|
Friday, April 2, 6 p.m. ET
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ORLANDO, Fla. – The UCF men's soccer team is set for their final home match of the regular season as they host SMU on Friday at 6 p.m. The Knights will honor Hattabiou Barry, Yoni Sorokin, Yannik Oettl and Itzik Efraim prior to the match as part of Senior Knight.
Two of those seniors have scored a combined six goals over the past three matches, with Sorokin scoring the most recent one, the 1-0 double overtime winner against South Florida. UCF went toe-to-toe with the Bulls and came out on top, splitting the War On I-4 regular season series. Anderson Rosa lobbed a beautiful ball into the box right to Sorokin who had no problem heading it in. Oettl earned his third straight clean sheet, turning away 18 shots during those matches.
One would have to look all the way back to 2013 to find the last time the Knights shutout three consecutive opponents, when they beat Memphis 1-0, tied SMU 0-0, and beat South Florida 1-0. If UCF earns their fourth straight clean sheet of the season on Friday, it will be the first time since 1976 which was their second season of playing soccer.
Oettl's play this season has been outstanding this season and his ranks in the NCAA prove it. He is ninth in the country in save percentage this season, earning a .903 mark which would shatter his previous career best. He's 18th in the country in shutouts and 15th in saves per match, stopping an average of 4.67 shots a night. His goals against average is also exceptionally low, checking in at a 0.489 clip.
UCF's offense has been on fire recently as they finished the month of March with a perfect 4-0 record, outscoring their opposition 9-1. The Black and gold have been ranked in the top 50 nationally all season in shot attempts per match, shots on goal and corners and have really found their stride now. The Knights have collected nine goals during their four-match winning streak as opposed to scoring three over their first four matches.
The Black and Gold got the better of the Mustangs the last time around, beating them 2-0 in Dallas when SMU was ranked ninth in the country. Barry opened the scoring early on and the Knights never looked back, adding a penalty kick goal by Sorokin in the second half to seal the deal. The victory snapped a four-match winless streak against SMU; each of those matches were decided by a goal or less.
The first 15 minutes of the match continues to be a key part of each match. The Knights are 5-0-0 when holding their opponents scoreless in the first phase of the tilt. UCF is also 5-0-0 when scoring first this season.
The Mustangs bring a high-powered offense with them to Orlando, ranking fifth in the nation and scoring an average of 2.57 goals per match. The Knights will look to shut down SMU just as they did South Florida, who nearly averaged two goals a game as well.
TICKETING, MASKING & CAPACITY
The UCF Soccer Complex and UCF Athletics recently raised their total fan capacity to 50 percent for each match. No ticket is required for entry as matches are free to attend. Masks are required and must be worn while in the venue and on campus. For more information, please visit the 2020-21 UCF Olympic Sports A-Z Guide which is linked to this preview.
FOLLOW THE KNIGHTS
Follow UCF Men's Soccer on social media on Facebook (/UCFMensSoccer), Twitter (@UCF_MSoccer) and Instagram (@UCF.MSoccer).
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