UCF Edged by #2 Tulsa in AAC Title Match

TULSA, Okla. – The UCF men's soccer team was edged 2-1 in the American Athletic Conference Championship at the hands of top-seeded, No. 2 Tulsa.

"The team's performance was one of the best this season, especially in the second half where we established control of the game," said head coach Scott Calabrese. "In the end, we weren't quite sharp enough or aggressive enough in the final third, and so the second goal didn't come. We had a few moments where we lost concentration and Tulsa punished us for it. I am proud of the way this group ended the season; these last two game showed what we can be. This is a young group that experienced ups and downs, and we must learn from this."

Despite having two of the highest scoring offenses on the same pitch, it was the defense that took center stage in the first 30 minutes of the match. Each side had just one shot attempt, neither landing on target.

Tulsa got on the board first pressuring the Knights' back line and forcing a turnover. Alvaro Torrijos cashed in on the opportunity, netting the opening goal in the 32nd minute.
At the halfway point, Tulsa had a 4-3 lead in shot attempts and a 2-1 advantage in corners.

The Knights came out of the halftime locker room hungry for an equalizer and possessed the ball for a majority of time out of the locker room.

UCF found their hard-earned equalizer in the 57th minute. Gino Vivi was the one to bury the chance, lobbing one over the goalkeeper and in off the far post. It was Vivi's seventh goal of the season and third of the conference tournament.

The Knights continued to dominate possession, but saw Tulsa take advantage of a fast break opportunity late in the match. Marcos Moreno was on the receiving end of a Will Edwards feed into the box and converted on the chance in the 82nd minute, giving the Golden Hurricane a 2-1 lead.

As the clock wound closer to zero, the Knights continued to push, but couldn't find another equalizer. UCF ended up firing seven shot attempts to Tulsa's five in the second half and led the board 10-9 with shots on target finishing at an even 3-3.

Vivi was named as the tournament's Most Outstanding Offensive Player for his three goals and one assist over the last two matches. Vivi, Lucca Dourado, Rainer De Jesus and Yanis Leerman were named to the All-Tournament Team.

"It's tough to accept that the season is over," said Calabrese. "This group at this moment can compete with any team in college soccer."

Tulsa has only allowed 13 goals against them this season...UCF was responsible for five of those goals. In their three meetings this season, each match was decided by a goal or less. The Knights came out on top in the first meeting of the campaign, handing Tulsa the only loss in their now 15-1-1 record.
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