ORLANDO – After seeing veteran forward Lucca Dourado score the Knights’ last four goals spanning the team’s previous two games, the rest of the squad couldn’t help but join in.
Five different Knights scored a single-match season-high five goals Wednesday evening in the No. 2 UCF men’s soccer team’s 5-0 win over the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers at the UCF Soccer Complex, the team’s fourth consecutive win and fourth by shutout this fall.
The contest marked the first five-goal match for the Knights (8-1-2, 4-1-1 SBC) since Nov. 10, 2021, when the Knights toppled then-No. 3 Memphis by a 6-0 score in the American Athletic Conference Tournament in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
“We kept our level throughout the game,” said head coach Scott Calabrese. “When we scored the second, we wanted to score the third, and we kept going. That’s a credit to the guys. They kept their level high and we were playing for each other. We created a lot of chances, and it was a great night for us.”
The Knights’ avalanche of scoring began just seconds after the referee’s whistle commenced the second half of play. Already holding a 1-0 advantage courtesy of sophomore transfer Clarence Awoudor’s second goal of the season in the 30th minute, defender Raphael Crivello, playing in just his second match since Sept. 9 as he returns from nursing an injury, rang a shot attempt off the left goalpost.
The ball caromed straight back into Chants (3-6-3, 1-3-2 SBC) goalkeeper Alex Hare, who dove out in an attempt to make a save, before trickling back from where it came and inside the Coastal Carolina net. The 47th-minute score marked the first in 14 games donning a Knights uniform for Crivello, who tallied each of his previous three collegiate goals during the fall 2021 slate with Pittsburgh.
“It’s great, my first one for UCF,” Crivello said of his goal. “I’m not used to scoring every weekend like Lucca, so it’s always special for me to score goals. I’m very proud of the team and the game. It’s always great and a nice feeling for me as well.”
The dam burst open following the fifth-year defender’s goal, as Emmanuel Bam took a give-and-go pass from Dourado en route to scoring the Knights’ third goal, and Saku Heiskanen ripped a shot attempt through four Chants defenders and a pair of teammates after dribbling through a pair of Coastal Carolina players to put the Knights ahead 4-0 in the 69th minute.
“We’ve been speaking about that, we needed to [put the game away] and score more goals,” Heiskanen added. “Super happy that we did today, we scored five goals. Not every game has been perfect, but we still manage to get the results, which is the most important piece. It’s nice to win.”
Midfielder Yanis Belatrache punctuated UCF’s emphatic evening with the first goal of his collegiate career, reading a Chants pass perfectly before making an interception and finishing off the Knights’ fifth goal of the match.
UCF netted four goals in a single half for the first time since the aforementioned victory over Memphis, when the team did the same in the first half, and the Knights on Wednesday potted four in the second half of a match for the first time since the team’s 4-2 win at Stetson Sept. 15, 2018.
The Knights saw five different players score at least one goal in a single match for the first time since their 2021 Memphis win, as well, while starting netminder Juanvi Muñoz made one save on three shot attempts in clinching his first combined shutout of the fall with redshirt freshman Luciano Natoli, who saw match action for the first time in his collegiate career.
“There’s a feeling in the team that is growing, that we have a lot of belief and a lot of confidence in what we’re doing,” Calabrese continued. “So much confidence in each other.”
The second-ranked Knights will now turn their attention to their penultimate road contest of the season Sunday evening, when UCF will clash with the South Carolina Gamecocks in Columbia, South Carolina. Kickoff for the match is slated for 6 p.m. from Eugene E. Stone III Stadium.