With a 3-0 win Saturday night over Memphis, the UCF men’s soccer team improved to 4-0 in Conference USA. The victory pushes the Knights to 5-0 at home this season as they completed a sweep of their three-game homestand. The 8-2 overall record marks the most wins in a season since 2004 for UCF, the year prior to joining C-USA.
UCF again scored a late first-half goal, with junior Warren Creavalle (Acworth, Ga.) netting his second of the season with just 40 seconds remaining. Sophomore Eduardo Jimenez (San Juan, Puerto Rico), fresh off his first career goal in the Knights’ last game, picked up an assist, as well as senior and team captain Yaron Bacher (Atlanta, Ga.) on the game’s opening tally.
“It was huge for us to get that goal and some momentum headed into the half,” head coach Bryan Cunningham said.
“After scoring out first goal, we are always looking for that second goal,” Creavalle said. “After half, we wanted to go out and we were able to get it early on in the half.”
That early second-half goal came from junior Cameron Cooksey (Marietta, Ga.) in the 56th minute. The third-year forward was able to take a pass from Creavalle and find the back of the net for his fourth of the season. Sophomore Nik Robson (Auckland, New Zealand) was also credited with an assist after putting the centering pass to Creavalle to start the play.
Robson was not done, collecting the primary assist on Luiz Yamashita’s (Sao Paulo, Brazil) goal in the 70th minute for UCF’s third goal. Robson’s shot was blocked out into the middle of the penalty box to a waiting Yamashita, who corralled the loose ball and put into the net for his second goal in as many games.
Robson now has three assists in his last two games and has at least one point in each of the Knights’ last seven contests.
After holding the Tigers without a shot through the first 82 minutes of play, UCF goalkeeper Shawn Doyle (Ft. Myers, Fla.) was tested several times in the final minutes. Stopping a Memphis shot pointblank, Doyle also had to turn aside a rebound from the foot of Parker Duncan waiting on the door step.
The second-year keeper has now posted consecutive shutouts and has five this season.
“As a whole, the team has played really hard and that’s what we’ve been trying to do this entire year,” Doyle said. “We’ve had the success so far because we have outworked teams and I think that defensively we have been grinding out games and that’s how we have these shutouts.”
The Knights’ defense again was on its game, limiting opportunities and tightening in the final minutes with Memphis continuing to sustain offensive pressure.
“This is a conference game and you knew that Memphis would be fighting every minute of the match,” Cunningham added. “Credit to all the players for holding that team off in the late stages and not allow them to score one against us, which is always nice.”
The Knights head back on the road for their next game. UCF will travel to Lexington, Ky., to take on Kentucky on Oct. 13 for the start of a three-game road swing.