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Top recruit helps Men’s soccer win season opener

Highly anticipated freshman Jay Bolt netted the difference maker off the bench in a 2-1 UNF victory over Western Illinois.

Nature had its influence on the first game of the season for the Men’s Soccer team as lightning delays pushed the starting time back to nearly 7:45 p.m. as the two teams agreed on a thirty minute warm up before the game started.

The Ospreys came out with a lineup that included Niklas Schuessler, Jake Frahm, Casey Caronis, and Simen Solstad in the back. Jon-Michael Vieira, Alex Morrell, Camilo Garcia, Pedro Carneiro and Christopher Bush made up the midfield while Jean Rivaroli took the start up top.

Early on, UNF showed their possession and patience getting forward with skill as Carneiro, Vieira and Rivaroli linked up well with one-two passingdown the flanks. However, it would be a switch of field that saw Solstad make an overlapping run to put him in position for a cross which found the head of leaping Morrell who put it in the lower corner in the 7th minute of play.

Brad Sienkiewicz limits Western Illinois to one goal Friday. (Photo: Garrett Haupt )
Brad Sienkiewicz limits Western Illinois to one goal Friday. (Photo: Garrett Haupt )

“I was pleased as we started strong and got an early goal which is what you want,” said Marinatos. “A great over overlapping run from Simen and a great header from Alex.”

UNF racked up a total of 11 shots, 8 of them on goal. Western had 8 with only 4 on goal.

The possession wasn’t in the Ospreys favor as much toward the end of the half. Marinatos made a few subs and tweaked his formation to regain the ball, making it difficult for a struggling Western Illinois who saw little of the ball. However, Western did have a few breakout chances that were held back firmly by the defense.

“We’re really pleased with the result, it was a great defensive team effort,” said Caronis. “Coach brought us in to play a certain style of soccer and now we’re able to do what he brought us here to do.”

With the defense holding strong, it was the left back Jay Bolt who made a surging run at the Western team from midfield and, with a bit of fortunate bounces, found his way to the box and striking one off the keeper into the net.

“It felt great, I saw a lot of open space and I started dribbling to it,” said Bolt. “They started closing and got a little lucky, but a little luck never hurt. Especially coming off the bench and making an impact, you know it’s what the coaches want us to do.”

Western made their run at UNF in the last portion of the game as Diego Lopez struck a shot past an outstretched Sienkiewicz as he had no real hope of reaching it.

In the dying minutes, the visitors had one last counterattack that brought out the best of Caronis, who met the challenge with a saving tackle and was able to clear the line.

“It was a great tackle. It was a little sketchy at the end but we held on and that’s what good teams do, they hold on,” said Bolt.

Starting the season off on a positive note is something Marinatos is pleased with, even with the unfortunate goal against them.

“Disappointed to give up the goal considering we were organized, and the guys know there is stuff we can work on,” said Marinatos. “Its good though, we got stuff to learn from and pleased with some of the guys impact. Proud they battled for each other.”

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