Penatly Kick Lifts Jacksonville Over UCF, 3-2

SEPT. 29, 1999

ORLANDO - Senior midfielder Mladen Dikic knocked home his team-leading 11th goal of the season on a penalty kick with 1:03 remaining in regulation to give Jacksonville University a 3-2 decision over the University of Central Florida in Wednesday's Trans America Athletic Conference men's soccer opener for both teams.

Hope Chiota streaked toward the net on the previous play and UCF sweeper Oyvind Thorin (Tonsberg, Norway/Revideregaende Skole) knocked him down just inside the 18-yard line. Chiota's dash for the goal drew the foul call, thus setting the stage for Dikic's heroics. Prior to Dikic's third game-winning goal of the season, the Golden Knights (4-4, 0-1 TAAC) had fought back from a two-goal deficit at the half to tie the game in the 75th minute. Sophomore Bole Acimovic gave the nationally-ranked Dolphins (7-1, 1-0 TAAC) their initial lead in the 10th minute when he received a pass from junior Mike Popovic, drew UCF goalkeeper Rich O'Sullivan (Tallahassee/Florida State University) out of the net and then slid it by him.

Jacksonville liked the Acimovic/Popovic combination so much that the same pair struck again for a 42nd minute tally. Popovic worked a give and go with Acimovic, finishing at point blank range from the left side. Both the Golden Knights, and the Dolphins played without many regular starters out with injuries, UCF without its top two keepers, but the teams made the most of the situation, with UCF responding with heavy pressure throughout the second half. Senior striker Heikki Ritvanen (Espoo, Finland/Makelanrinteen Lukio) scored his fifth of the season to slice the deficit at 64:57 when he took charge in a goalmouth scramble. Douglas Sander (Bradenton/Manatee CC) and Ari Nurmi (Helsinki, Finland/Hameenkylan Lukio) assisted the play. Rami Vehmas knotted the score at 74:19 with give-and-go assists by Arno Nurmisto (Helsinki, Finland/Hameenkylan Lukio) and Niclas Eek (Norrkoping, Sweden/Kungsgardsskolan). Dolphin goalkeeper Petar Popovic for his part made six saves while O'Sullivan came up with four between the pipes for the Golden Knights.

UCF visits TAAC rival Stetson on Saturday at 4 p.m., while Jacksonville travels to Buies Creek, N.C. Saturday to take on TAAC foe Campbell.