ORLANDO, Fla (SMU) – SMU men's soccer won their second consecutive American Conference Tournament title on Saturday, topping the seventh-ranked UCF Golden Knights in a penalty kick shootout.
In a rematch of last year's title game, the Knights and Mustangs played a scoreless first half with chances limited for both sides. SMU keeper Grant Makela did provide his fair share of highlight real saves in the period and added to that with an impressive second-half showing. Makela was named Most Outstanding Defensive Player for his effort across the two Mustang matches.
Back-to-Back #AmericanMSoc Championships for @SMUSoccerM! Emil Cuello sealed the title for the Mustangs in Penalty Kicks - the second year in a row Cuello has provided the title-clinching score for SMU! pic.twitter.com/N6adEHgTHg— American MSoccer (@American_MSoc) November 11, 2018
After a frenzied second period, the Mustangs broke the seal first with a 73rd-minute goal. Senior Christian Boorom scored his first of the season by tapping in one from close range with the assist coming from Eddie Munjoma. After holding tight for the next 16 minutes, the mustangs conceded what seemed to be a momentum shifting goal with 31 seconds left in the game. UCF's Edgar Hernandez was credited with his first goal of the season.
The two teams, who had finished first and second in the conference during the regular season, played 20 minutes of sudden-death overtime from the UCF Soccer Complex. Neither team could find the game-winner and the game moved on to PKs.
SMU switched to junior keeper Patrick Michael Hillyard for the penalty kicks. The Mustangs converted their first four kicks, from Caleb Smith, Talen Maples, Garrett McLaughlin and Akean Shackleford. UCF failed on their third attempt in the only miss of the PK period. With a chance to win the tournament, Emil Cuello, who scored the golden-goal winner in the 2017 AAC final, stepped to the line and nailed the clinching goal, punching the Mustang's ticket to the NCAA Tournament. After the game, Cuello was named Most Outstanding Offensive Player.
The Mustangs will find out where they will play their opening round game during the NCAA Selection show on Monday Nov. 18.