JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The men's soccer team of Jacksonville University closed out its season-opening four game homestand on Monday against UCF. The Dolphins dropped a 4-0 decision to the Knights.
"UCF is a very strong team, and they're going to win a lot of games," said Head Coach Mauricio Ruiz. "We were outworked tonight, outclassed technically a little bit, and we have a long way to go. But the good news is that we have a week to train before we get into the next series of games. We have the players we need in order to fix this."
At the half goalie Patrick Harding had four saves, but the Knights led JU 2-0. UCF's Yoni Sorokin started the scoring in the 20th minute with a boot-in off of a pass by Hattabiou Barry into a crowd of Knights around the goal. Sorokin then contributed his own assist in the 30th minute with a pass to Matias Pyysalo as Harding came out to challenge.
In the second half JU upped its shot attempts considerably, but UCF also upped its aggression on offense. Pyysalo scored again in the 54th minute and in the 67th minute. His goal in the 54th came unassisted on a rebound from a shot he took just a few second earlier. Pyysalo punted the ball from about 25 yards out and into the bottom right corner of the net. His goal in the 67th minute came on a pass from Max Stiegwardt. Stiegwardt and Pyysalo danced the ball down the field, passing three times between the two of them before Pyysalo took the shot.
The Dolphins return to action on Friday in the Coastal Empire Challenge at Statesboro, Ga., against Gardner-Webb. Georgia Southern will then host the Dolphins on Sunday, also in the Empire Challenge.