Tumbles and falls littered the field during the Friday night matchup between UNF and the Florida International Panthers in the Hodges Stadium. Yellow cards were thrown and penalty kicks were given. Sometime in the second half, UNF picked themselves back up and were able to clench the victory with a 4-3 final score.
FIU started the first half hot, narrowly missing with a rebounder of the top crossbar. 15 minutes in, they secured a goal off the penalty kick for the lead.
UNF answered back quickly. Junior midfielder Joshua Castellanos got the first Osprey goal of the night with an assist from Aidan D’Mello.
Freshman midfielder Cormac Begley nearly ripped a hole in the top of goal at 24 feet with a solid line drive to secure a score of 2-1, which lasted until halftime.
The freshmen and sophomores’ successful play shows the commitment these payers have to fill the shoes of the graduated seniors.
“Our team is very good in all our classes,” Castellano said.
Castellano, with three goals last year, has already matched that number for this season with his two goals Friday night. Castellano is confident UNF is a top contender for Florida schools.
“[These] are big team wins,” Castellano said.
FIU turned the tables around in the second half, bringing the score up to 3-2 with two shots by their attackers.
“Definitely a great opponent. Back and forth, they went up,” Head Coach Derek Marinatos said.
UNF stayed determined and pushed back to close down the remainder of the half. A header by Micah Smoak and a solid shot by Castellanos gave UNF a lead with the score 4-3.
A penalty kick at the 78-minute mark was down to UNF’s Smoak and the FIU goalie to lead the Ospreys into a 5-3 lead. Unfortunately, the shot was kneed away.
“[I] was disappointed we couldn’t get the fifth goal to have some breathing room at the end,” Marinatos said.
With this game, the men’s soccer team walked away undefeated so far in the regular season.
As UNF steps up and shows it’s a force to be reckoned with, Coach Derek Marinatos hopes this victory leads the team to a ranking.
“We deserve to be in the picture,” he said.
Next, the Ospreys will go on the road for a Wednesday night matchup against USF in Tampa.
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