Orlando, FL - The University of South Florida men’s soccer team’s season came to a close on Thursday night with a 3-0 loss to in-state rival Central Florida in the first round of the NCAA men’s soccer tournament
Both teams came out in the beginning of the game and tried to feel each other out as neither team had many opportunities early on.
The Bulls would look to take the momentum early as Bernardo Anor would get the first good chance on a header that would be saved by Shawn Doyle just under 10 minutes into the contest.
Kevin Olali would come back in the 18th minute with just the second shot of the game which would also be saved by Doyle.
The Knights would finally get the ball rolling on their end of the field when Spencer Scott would put a shot just wide of the post in the 19th minute of play. Then A.J. Nelson would put the first dangerous shot of the game on net with a low liner that skipped off the ground. Fortunately for the Bulls goalkeeper Jeff Attinella would drop to his knees and suffocate the ball in the 21st minute to keep the game scoreless.
T.J. Roehn would then give USF what would end up being its best chance of the contest – and its final shot of the half - when he gained control of a Shawn Chin pass that rattled around the 18-yard box. Roehn would get a good foot on the ball, however he put the shot just inches above the crossbar.
UCF eventually broke through as Ben Hunt took a pass from Cameron Crooksey a headed it in to the back of the goal in the 34th minute for what would be the game-winning goal.
The Knights then took a 2-0 lead with 56 seconds left in the half when the Bulls were called for a foul in the 18-yard box which gave UCF a penalty kick. Nik Robson would step up to the ball and beat Attinella to the right side.
The second half would prove to be relatively uneventful despite a near-even margin in shots in the final stanza.
USF would push to get back into the game getting off the halves first four shots in the first 11 minutes.
The Bulls however would have any momentum that it was gaining dashed when Marius Krathe was sent off with a red card in the 64th minute. On the restart after the foul, Yaron Bacher would drive his free kick around the USF defensive and into the goal.
Three USF players – Kevin Olali, Bernardo Anor and Chin – all recorded two shots apiece for six of the team’s 10 shots on the night.
Attinella would finish the game with five saves in his final collegiate match.
USF finishes the season 9-6-4 while UCF improves to 12-4-3.