CHAPEL HILL, NC — On the strength of two second half goals, the No. 15 UCF men's soccer team upset the No. 6 North Carolina Tar Heels 2-1 to wrap up the team's opening weekend ACC road trip.
"It felt great to get the go ahead goal tonight as our team rallied hard for the big win," said Cal Jennings, who scored the go-ahead goal. "God has truly blessed me with a team and staff full of great people who support each other through thick and thin and continue to set us up for success."
The match was back and forth at the beginning with both sides trading a few shots. North Carolina opened the scoring with a goal in the 31st minute by Alex Rose for his second goal of the young season off an assist from Jelani Pieters. He finished the goal by heading the ball just inside the let post off the cross from Pieters.
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UCF was unable to net anything in the first half but outshot the Tar Heels 8-5. The Knights had a chance in the 38th minute to equalize when Jennings headed one off the crossbar and out of harm's way.
The second half began with very little offense on either side of the ball. UCF capitalized on an opportunity in the 63rd minute as Gianluca Arcangeli was awarded a free kick. He took a quick shot that was saved by the goalkeeper, but Arcangeli quickly got to the ball and tapped in the rebound to tie the match at 1-1. The goal was Arcangeli's second of the season as he was the lone goal scorer for UCF on Friday.
North Carolina surged after the UCF goal to try and get their lead back and fired three shots at Knights goalkeeper Yannik Oettl who stopped all of them.
It takes only one play to flip momentum in a match, and Jennings was able to do just that. With a good look at the net, UNC's Matthew Constant was given a yellow card after fouling Jennings hard. The Knights were awarded a free kick and cashed in on the chance. UCF went tic-tac-toe on the kick, with Jennings slotted the ball in from six yards out off a through ball from Yoni Sorokin and Louis Perez to give the Black and Gold a 2-1 edge in the seventy-eighth minute.
Oettl had to deny one more Tar Heel shot before his night was done as they tried for a late equalizer. They had no such luck, as Oettl finished the night with five saves and got the win.
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The win over UNC is the first time the Knights have defeated the Tar Heels since Aug. 31, 1986 when UCF won 2-1 in overtime. The Knights have taken three of seven all time matchups from the Tar Heels with the last meeting between the two teams coming in 2006.
UCF collected 14 total shots with six of them landing on goal while UNC took one less shot and put six on goal as well. The Knights end their opening weekend ACC road trip with a record of 1-1, after falling to No. 4 Wake Forest 2-1 on Friday.
The Knights will host Penn State in their home opener at the UCF Soccer Complex on Friday at 7 p.m. ET. It will be the first of three consecutive matches at home.