JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — UNF won a heated match 4-1 despite multiple cards, including goal scorer Drew Spragg earning a red.
Attacking play from UNF (3-0-1) was frequent, using the wings to press high and put UNC-Asheville (2-3) on its heels.
UNF’s constant attack earned it three corners early on, though no real threat came from the set pieces.
Drew Spragg put the Osprey’s on the board in the 20th minute from distance and left the Bulldogs’ keeper stretching for air. Build up play came from the left side found Spragg in space to prep his shot.
“Ball came in to Jean [Rivaroli] from Jay [Bolt] and laid it off perfectly,” said Spragg. “I took a touch and hit it. It found the back the back of the net.”
While UNF did well to attack in the game, but left themselves open to counter attack, nearly conceding a goal on a 1-v-1 break. Diogo Quirino shut down the attack with a lunging tackle.
Coach Marinatos made plenty of subs around the half hour mark, something he was pleased with as many players showed well during practice.
“I’m proud of the guys, got to get a lot more of them in tonight,” said Marinatos. “They worked hard this week in practice and with the game 3-1 in hand, thought we could get some more guys in. It was deserving for them.”
UNC-Asheville’s Andrew Sotak received a straight red for his challenge on Camilo Garcia. The tackle was from behind with no intention on the ball was made.
The second half opened with a flurry of attacks from the Bulldogs, scoring a goal within the first 5 minutes. An unfortunate bounce off of the defense found the forward in with only Brad Sienkiewicz to beat.
“Went in to the half up a man and up 1-0 and in that situation you tend to relax,” said Marinatos. “I think we relaxed the first five minutes and gave up a goal right away.”
Following the goal, UNF attacked the Bulldogs’ goal relentlessly in a cluster of shots.
UNC Asheville’s defense held strong, not allowing any shots to reach the keeper as they laid out for each one.
Spragg earned a yellow for his challenge on a Bulldog attacker. Spragg was in the midst of his follow through on a shot when the player came into his shot.
Spragg would find redemption in the 56th minute when Alex Morrell made one of his many surging runs forward, this time laying off the ball for Spragg. A lucky bounce found Spragg running onto it as he struck it through the diving keeper’s legs.
Three minutes later Spragg, already on a yellow card, followed through on a late tackle. The late tackle was a yellow card offense in the eyes of the ref, earning him his second and expulsion from the game.
“It was crazy out there,” said Morrell. “We all got together and said we’re going to follow this game plan and we did. We were calm the whole time.”
Marinatos brought on more subs in the second half to keep the energy up as Jean Rivaroli, who got the start, came back in along with Max McDainel, Camilo Garcia, C.J. Mealer, and Drew Bruce.
The Osprey’s third goal came from a free kick that Jon-Michael Vieira placed near post to an onrushing Jake Frahm. Frahm cleverly heeled the ball into the far post netting to give UNF more breathing room.
In the dying minutes of the game, a ball from Sean Young found McDaniel in on goal.
The sophomore forward was taken down in the box and awarded a penalty kick.
McDaniel was the one put on the spot kick, which was put with power into the roof of the net. The goal was McDaniel’s first in his career for the Ospreys.
With a 4-1 final, UNF now look ahead to FIU for the next game, though they will miss Spragg’s contribution with his suspension.