North Florida’s men’s soccer program has already matched their win total from all of last season and they have played only two games.
The Ospreys (1-1) won their opening game Fri. Aug 24 against Sienna 4-2 in a shootout during the first ever Mike Gibbs Memorial Tournament. Last season North Florida was only able to conjure up a single victory to accompany their 15 losses.
A record attendance of 1,056 fans watched the opening game and cheered the Ospreys to their first home win under Head Coach Derek Marinatos, who’s in his second season leading the team.
The Saints jumped to an early 2-1 lead over the Ospreys before North Florida roared back with three unanswered goals. The story of the night was the underclassmen. Freshmen and sophomores scored all four goals for the Ospreys in the contest.
With only four upperclassmen on the roster, if North Florida finds success this season, it will be on the feet of those freshmen and sophomores.
Jean Rivaroli, a freshman from West Orange High School, got things started early in his first collegiate regular season game. Rivaroli scored in just the third minute to give the Ospreys the early advantage. Alex Morrell sent a cross into the box and Rivaroli’s head sent the ball flying over the goalkeeper.
Falko Friedrichs scored the equalizer for the Saints in the match’s 35th minute and the score would remain tied up the remainder of the first half. North Florida led Siena in shots, 8-7 but the two teams both had three saves and corner kicks.
It did not take the Saints long to claim their first lead of the match when Sindre Ek scored a goal from about 15 yards away to make the score 2-1, in favor of Siena. However, it would be the final goal the Saints would score on this night.
In the 63rd minute Mauricio Valderruten scored an equalizer for the Ospreys with a sensational free kick into the upper right corner.
Just 13 minutes later North Florida regained the lead when Teddy Mulamba headed a cross from Rivaroli by the goalkeeper.
While the Ospreys defense held Siena from scoring the remainder of the game, Morrell provided a little insurance with his goal late in the game.
In the second game of the season the team’s lack of size was shown in the team’s first loss of the regular season Sun. Aug. 26.
The Ospreys lost 3-1 to Georgia State in a high-pace, physical match at Hodges Stadium.
The game started and was played majority of the time in the defensive third of the Ospreys.
No goals were scored until the 26th minute when UNF’s Cmilo Garcia scored a beautiful goal from 25 yards out. After a penalty, Garcia took a free kick that he curled into the top left corner.
UNF held onto the one-goal lead until the 53rd minute when GSU’s Alex Vivanco scored the game-tying goal. Vivanco scored after receiving a through ball from Peter Kurowski.
The next ten minutes of the game turned into a worst-case scenario for the Ospreys as the Bulldogs took advantage of gaining the momentum and scored two goals in five minutes.
In the 60th minute Caleb Kernan scored a diving header after a cross from Willi Mellors Blair. In the 64th minute Vivanco netted his second goal of the game. Gimel Gordon sent in a low cross and Vivanco tapped it past goalkeeper Brad Sienkiewicz.
UNF wasn’t able to make a dent in the lead and ended the Mike Gibbs Memorial Tournament with a 1-1-0 record and nabbed second place in the inaugural event.
UNF will look to grab its second win of the year and top its win total from last year Friday Aug., 31 as it hosts Florida International University at 8:30 pm at Hodges Stadium.