ORLANDO, Fla. – No. 8 Central Florida suffered its first defeat of the season Saturday as Florida Gulf Coast escaped the UCF Soccer Complex with a 2-1 victory. The Knights’ (6-1-1) seven-match unbeaten streak to start the year was the best for the program since it moved to the Division I ranks in 1984.
Florida Gulf Coast’s (3-2-2) Andres Navas scored the game-winning goal at the 48:39 mark when he took a cross from Francesco DiStefano and scored to break a 1-1 tie.
The match was originally scheduled for Friday evening, but was postponed due to heavy rain and lightning.
The Knights had plenty of scoring chances throughout the match. UCF finished with a 17-9 shot advantage and a 9-4 edge in corner kicks. After the Eagles scored early in the contest, the hosts tied the match at the 34:56 mark when junior Ben Hunt grabbed a rebound off a header from sophomore Steven Lamberta and punched it in.
With only five minutes remaining in the contest, UCF had a great opportunity to tie the match, but Florida Gulf Coast’s Adam Glick made a diving save of a free kick from junior Eduardo Jimenez.
Junior Nik Robson attempted six shots for the Knights, and fellow junior A.J. Nelson added three shots. Nelson nearly scored off a throw-in from senior Cameron Cooksey midway through the second period, but his header was wide.
“You don’t want it to [end],” UCF head coach Bryan Cunningham said of his team’s unbeaten streak to start the campaign. “It’s unfortunate. [Give] credit to Florida Gulf Coast; they outplayed us. We had plenty of chances today that went begging. They had two great chances and they finished them. There is the result to winning.”
Twenty-six minutes into the match, Robson had an apparent goal off a long free kick, but UCF was whistled for interference with the goalkeeper. The Knights took 11 shots in the opening half, and limited the Eagles to only four shots.
The Knights were playing at home for the first time since Sept. 7.
Glick totaled three saves in the winning effort. UCF junior Shawn Doyle stopped four shots.