Senior Warren Creavalle (Acworth, Ga.) scored late in overtime to help the No. 10 UCF men’s soccer team to a dramatic 2-1 victory over No. 21 Kentucky in the Conference USA opener for both teams at the UCF Soccer Complex Wednesday. The victory for the Knights, who improved to 7-1-1 on the year, was the first over the Wildcats (7-4-1) since 2005.
The match, which featured a 70-minute lightning and rain delay, ended when Creavalle knocked the ball into the left corner of the goal after securing a corner kick from junior Nik Robson (Auckland, New Zealand). The Knights went down 1-0 early, but played with more energy following the weather delay.
“I’m so proud of my team tonight,” UCF head coach Bryan Cunningham said. “I don’t know who we were in the first 30 minutes of that game, but we came out after the rain delay a totally different team. I challenged them to be the team that we are capable of being.”
UCF tied the match at 1-1 at the 38:24 mark when sophomore McKauly Tulloch (Kingston, Jamaica) slipped past the lone defender back for the Wildcats and scored past Tyler Beadle. Creavalle and senior Kevan George (Roxborough, Trinidad) assisted on the goal, which was the 10th of the season for Tulloch, who leads the nation in points per game.
UCF finished with a 19-12 shot advantage and took eight corner kicks during the match. Kentucky entered the contest tied for first in the nation with 25 total goals, but the Wildcats’ scoring opportunities were limited by UCF’s defense.
Kentucky grabbed a 1-0 lead 13 minutes into the opening half when Tyler Riggs tapped the ball into the open goal after UCF’s goalkeeper, junior Shawn Doyle (Fort Myers, Fla.), slipped on the wet field.
The contest was the first of eight league matches this year for the Knights.
“It’s huge,” Creavalle said of starting off C-USA play with a victory. “We started off with a win like that last year and it really set us up for the rest of the season.”
UCF had several good scoring opportunities late in the match, and almost ended the contest in regulation when senior Cameron Cooksey (Marietta, Ga.) found sophomore Steven Lamberta (Temecula Valley, Calif.) in the box for a header that went just left of the goal with two minutes to play. Tulloch setup Creavalle with a great pass with seven minutes to go, but the senior was whistled for offsides before he booted the ball into the goal past Beadle.
The physical contest featured 38 total fouls and three yellow cards.
Tulloch attempted six shots in the winning effort, and Creavalle had three shots. Doyle recorded four saves as he picked up his sixth win of the year.