On a throwback jersey night that saw UCF wear the Citronauts’ logo from the FTU days, the Knights threw it back to the first game of the season, copying the result they couldn’t quite find the past three games: a win.
After a 5-0 victory over FAU in its season opener, UCF struggled to find the back of the net, scoring just one goal in the past three games. But a 2-1 win over Grand Canyon University (3-2-0) on Friday night got the Knights (2-3-0) back on track.
“Losing’s one thing, but getting shut out is another,” head coach Bryan Cunningham said. “I never thought that we weren’t in control that game … We grinded out a result and, I think just confidence wise, that’s going to really help this crew.”
Freshman Jakov Basic tallied the first goal of the night, which was the first of his UCF career. The Antelopes’ keeper got a hand on Basic’s 30-yard free kick to the bottom left, but couldn’t get enough as it trickled over the goal line.
“That was a really exciting moment for me,” Basic said. “That gave me courage to work hard and we continued to work hard and [the] result is seeing [it] on the soccer field.”
Sophomore Matias Pyysalo picked up his team-leading third goal of the season in the 50th minute. He picked up a loose ball in the box that the Lopes’ defenders failed to clear and struck a right-footed shot to the bottom right corner to make it 2-0.
“My eyes lit up really big because I thought I was going to hit it, and then my friend Matias in the midfield came through,” defender Phil Hicks said. “When I heard his voice, I knew he would get the job done.”
The Knights potential shut out was wiped away in the 69th minute when Antelopes’ defender Garcia Sanchez found himself alone and chipped the ball across the box and over Knights’ senior keeper Zach Biggs.
The Knights will begin a two-game road trip when they face Jacksonville University Wednesday, Sept. 23 at 7 p.m.
Jarrod Heil is the Sports Editor for the Central Florida Future. Follow him on Twitter at@JHeil11 or email him at JarrodH@CentralFloridaFuture.com.